Apple Updates Its App Store Review Guidelines To Cover Game Streaming Apps

Apple yesterday updated its App Store Review guidelines with a few smaller changes and one big one. That bigger chance is supposed to clear up the confusion relating to game streaming services like Microsoft’s xCloud and Google’s Stadia. But in reality, it really doesn’t..

Previously Apple prevented xCloud and Stadia from living in the App Store because it couldn’t review each game that they offered.

Now, Apple has new guidelines that require these services submit one app that will act as the game catalog and them for every game to be submitted separately. That’s simply not going to happen, with neither Google nor Microsoft likely to go through the effort of submitting hundreds of games that way. In fact, Microsoft has already pointed out that the experience will be bad for gamers.

“This remains a bad experience for customers. Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We’re committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is core to that mission.”

Other changes include wording to prevent a repeat of the Fortnite debacle. Epic Games included code that remained dormant until a server-side change was made – that is now expressly forbidden. On the plus side, Apple will now allow some apps to offer their own payment system for in-app purchases, but only if they are person-to-person services such as fitness classes or medical apps. Anything else will still need to use the App Store’s payment systems.

There are other changes that won’t make much of a difference to users, but Apple is already under fire for much of what it added to its guidelines yesterday. The game streaming situation is nothing short of farcical, and it is very unlikely to be enough to get xCloud and Stadia into the App Store. Again, users are the ones suffering.

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