Apple Explains Why xCloud, Google Stadia & Other Game Streaming Services Will Not Be Allowed On iOS
There’s a lot of noise right now about Microsoft’s decision to stop working on the iPhone and iPad version of its xCloud game streaming service. The decision came because Apple won’t allow the app required to make it happen – the xCloud client – onto the App Store. Now Apple has explained why that is.
According to Apple, it’s a simple case of xCloud violating existing App Store guidelines rather than the company trying to be awkward. Although it’s a matter of debate as to whether that’s any different.
The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers. Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers.
Our customers enjoy great apps and games from millions of developers, and gaming services can absolutely launch on the App Store as long as they follow the same set of guidelines applicable to all developers, including submitting games individually for review, and appearing in charts and search. In addition to the App Store, developers can choose to reach all iPhone and iPad users over the web through Safari and other browsers on the App Store.
As you’d expect, Microsoft isn’t happy and it won’t take that explanation as the end of the discussion,. Instead, it’s released its own statement that throws shade directly at Apple, saying that it denies its customers the chance to play cloud-based games.
Our testing period for the Project xCloud preview app for iOS has expired. Unfortunately, we do not have a path to bring our vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS via the Apple App Store. Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass. And it consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content.
Ultimately, Apple probably knows that xCloud isn’t going to be enough to make people switch from iPhones to anything else. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope, though. Apple eventually allowed Valve’s Steam Link app into the App Store. It’s possible a similar agreement could be reached here.