Apple Arcade vs. Google Stadia

Apple Arcade and Google Stadia are cloud-based, mobile gaming platforms that launched in 2019, generating new ways to experience high-quality games. While Apple Arcade achieved popularity with its exclusive games, Google Stadia earned praise as a cloud gaming experience proportionate to consoles without the expensive hardware. 

Google Stadia is new to the market, launching on November 19, so as a quick disclaimer, we’re judging based on what we know so far. 

A comparison of Apple Arcade and Google Stadia

Apple Arcade and Google Stadia are ad-free subscription services. Just note, Stadia is in the process of developing a family share feature.

Apple ArcadeGoogle Stadia
Monthly price$4.99/mo.$9.99/mo.
Free trial length1 monthNone
Number of games100+22
Resolution1080p4K
Number of user accountsUp to 6N/A
Offline playYesNo
Parental controls availableScreen timeGoogle Family Link

Which streaming service has the right experience for you?

Apple Arcade serves as a premium mobile gaming experience where you enjoy access to over 100 high-quality games from Arcade’s exclusive library for $4.99/mo. 

Google Stadia functions as an elite audiovisual cloud-based gaming experience providing console-like gaming without the hardware for $9.99/mo. 

User experience 

Apple Arcade is housed in a tab within the Apple App Store, and upon downloading a game, it appears on your main device interface like any other app. With Google Stadia, once you open its app, you’re directed to a “Choose where to play” panel. From there, you decide whether to cast your games from Chromecast and play directly on Stadia’s website or on your smartphone. A menu will also let you determine your stream-quality and data usage. 

Stadia operates as a high-quality online experience but requires a connection to the internet at all times. Apple Arcade is a superior offline gaming service where you download your games to play even when you don’t have access to the internet. 

Apple Arcade offers an impressive family sharing option granting six members the ability to use one plan. Google Stadia, on the other hand, has yet to offer a family plan but has mentioned they will do so in 2020. 

Apple Arcade is compatible with only Apple devices, including Apple TV, iPhone, iPad and Mac. Keep in mind, your devices must support iOS 8 or later. 

Google Stadia offers a wider range of compatibility with the use of Google Chrome. It’s compatible with Macs and PCs, tablets and more

Customization

Your Apple Arcade account is generated through your Apple ID. You can personalize multiple accounts after you set up the family plan. Each individual account decides which games to download and keep on their devices. 

Once you download Google Stadia and create a Google account, you’ll be directed to choose an avatar, claim your Stadia name, customize your privacy options and share with friends. 

Apple Arcade offers an all-inclusive subscription plan meaning you don’t need to worry about add-ons or upgrades to improve your gaming experience. 

With Google Stadia being so new to the market, its add-on features are somewhat limited. That said, Google Stadia offers exclusive discounts with its Stadia Pro subscription plan as well as free games including Destiny 2, and its Shadowkeep expansion and annual pass. 

Using Apple Arcade is simple and pleasurable given that you can connect your favorite wireless controller to play any of its games, including PS4’s DualShock 4 and Xbox One controllers. 

Since Google Stadia offers a wide range of device compatibility, its controls are associated with your TV, smartphone and tablet. Your Stadia controller works wirelessly with Chromecast Ultra and your TV. If you wish to play on your other devices, you’ll need a USB-C cable to connect your controller to your chosen device.

Extras

All of Apple’s Arcade games are closely curated in partnership with Indie gaming developers. Apple’s unique selection avoids mature content in favor of content appropriate for both children and adults. Apple Arcade’s top offerings include Annapurna Interactive’s Sayonara Wild Hearts, the Sci-Fi thriller Neo Cab and the fantastical Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm

Featuring only 22 games when it launched, Google Stadia doesn’t offer an in-depth selection yet. However, it has released an exclusive game, Gylt—although, this might be the only Google exclusive for the foreseeable future. Its other selections consist of popular AAA brands, including Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Final Fantasy XV

Disadvantages

For Apple Arcade and its users, Google Stadia doesn’t necessarily compare in mobile gaming and streaming because it requires Wi-Fi. Also, you can’t download games for offline use, both of which Apple Arcade can do. However, Apple Arcade struggles with its 4K resolution and is restricted to Apple products. 

The takeaway

If you’re a fan of mobile gaming and an owner of Apple devices, you’ll be happy with Apple Arcade and its affordable monthly price. However, if you’re seeking a console-like experience and aren’t worried about internet connectivity, you might enjoy Google Stadia.