Apple (AAPL) on Thursday officially launched its Apple Arcade online gaming service that will allow subscribers to play more than 100 games curated by Apple for $4.99 a month. 

The service, revealed last week at Apple's annual fall product and services showcase event, launches in more than 150 countries through the tech giant's App Store.

The games can be downloaded and played across Apple's devices, with subscriptions shared with up to six family members. They won't have ads, and, to parents' delight everywhere, won't offer the option of in-app purchases.

Get ready. On September 19, play groundbreaking new games by many of the world's most innovative developers.

Learn more about #AppleArcade here: https://t.co/BR7BfvIqQm pic.twitter.com/VGQRCPGCAY

— Apple Arcade (@AppleArcade) September 12, 2019

Cowen analyst Doug Creutz said he has "a hard time seeing this work. There are a tremendous number of free games on the [App Store], many of which are quite good."

However, Real Money Pro contributor and Barchetta Capital Management Director Ed Ponsi wrote in a recent column that the real opportunity for Apple "... lies in drawing more customers into its ecosystem, and one way to achieve this is with affordable products."

To be sure, mobile games are big business: According to research from App Annie, mobile games accounted for 74% of worldwide consumer spending across iOS and Google Play last year, with total spending on iOS outpacing Google Play by 50%.

The majority of that spending is on "freemium" games with in-app purchases rather than on paid games, however, and Apple views Arcade as the answer to the lopsided nature of the mobile games market.

Shares of Apple were up 0.5% at $222.87 in early trading on Thursday. 

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