This past Spring, Apple announced a series of upcoming services. One of those is Apple Arcade, a service where users can pay every month to access a collection of exclusive games playable across Apple’s ecosystem.
There is quite a bit of excitement for this, and the games they’ve announced seem like a lot of fun. But there’s something that’s been bugging me.
Fun for the whole family
As an Apple family, it would be nice to have games that play on our Macs, iPhones, and iPads, as well as our Apple TV. But there’s an interesting question: how will that work with family members?
And yes, Apple did say this is for the whole family.
Sure, everyone can access and play these games on their device. But what about those on Apple TV? Right now, Apple TV has to be logged into an Apple ID, and its only one ID. At home, this is my ID. So it has access to my App Store history, and any games supporting iCloud sync up with my personal Apple account.
This would be all I need if I was the only one using the Apple TV. But I’m not. My son plays games on there. But if he wanted to continue playing a game on his iPad after playing on the Apple TV, we hit a snag: How does he do that?
Apple says you can jump from device to device with Apple Arcade. Is this for just ONE of the family members, though? I don’t think that seems fair OR fun.
Rather, I think this implies some other feature that must be coming: multi-user support.
Now, I don’t think iOS requires multi-user support. You typically find people having their own iOS devices in the family. But I DO think Apple TV needs to support the concept of user accounts. When it comes to Apple TV, it’s typically running on the biggest screen in the house, but it’s also likely a single device used by multiple people in a family. It’s time that it fully embraces that.
My son should be able to go from a game on his iPad to the Apple TV in the same way that I can go from my iPhone to the Apple TV. “Jump from [device] to [device]” shouldn’t be limited to specific family members.
If Apple is serious about Apple Arcade, I’d like to take it as a sign that Apple is serious about gaming in the living room. While they aren’t creating a console, the Apple TV can perform very much like one. And like modern consoles, it needs to understand the individual user using the device at the time.
That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised to see multi-user support in tvOS 13. It makes sense that it has to do that to fully embrace what Apple Arcade promises. And if Apple is serious about their Services, this is a vital component.