Apple’s New Game Streaming Rules Probably Won’t Lead To Stadia And XCloud On Your iPhone

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Image: Microsoft
Image: Microsoft

Apple has made some changes to its App Store guidelines concerning game streaming services like xCloud and Stadia. The new rules allow for game streaming, but with restrictions and caveats that will likely continue to keep these services off Apple products for the foreseeable future.

Previously, game streaming services like xCloud and Stadia weren’t allowed on the App Store because Apple couldn’t review each individual game. Today, ahead of the launch of iOS 14, Apple has updated its App Store guidelines. According to CNBC, game streaming services like Stadia and xCloud are now allowed on the App Store, but there are restrictions. Apple requires any company wanting to stream games on an iPhone to provide a separate app for each individual game on the App Store, which will have to go through Apple’s review process. Developers will be allowed to create “catalogue apps” that let players quickly find these separate game streaming apps, but that catalogue wouldn’t provide direct access to the games themselves.

There are numerous problems with this setup. For starters, one of the big selling points of services like Stadia is the instant access to all of the service’s games. Downloading the apps for each game, rather than simply streaming them, basically breaks the whole idea behind services like xCloud and Stadia. Additionally, each individual game would have to go through the App Store’s review process and be subject to Apple’s current 30% cut, the latter being a source of scrutiny in recent weeks since Fortnite rebelled against Apple’s payment policies by releasing its own payment method on the App Store. Rather than being a solution, the new guidelines seem like an unwieldy workaround that doesn’t actually allow these services to work on iOS devices.

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Kotaku has contacted Microsoft and Google about the recent Apple guideline changes. Google declined to comment.

Early last month, Apple explained that they wouldn’t allow xCloud or Stadia on the App Store, saying “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.” These new rules seem to be more of a doubling down of Apple’s rules, rather than allowances for streaming services. Microsoft responded back in August about xCloud being blocked from the App Store, telling Protocol’s Seth Schiesel: “Apple stands alone as the only general-purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass.”

The fight between game streaming services and Apple will likely continue, as these new rules still seem too restrictive to allow Stadia or xCloud to finally be available on iOS devices. Considering Apple’s track record with gaming companies that want to let players stream games on their iPhones, it seems like a longshot that Apple is going to make drastic changes to their rules in the near future.

Comments

  • Apple continuing to be such a backwards company just to protect their monopoly

    I can’t wait for this anti trust investigation against them to ruin them.

    • You’ll be waiting a while and the end results might be far from what you’re expecting.

      There’s really only two ways this can all go.
      Firstly, regulators attempt to break up and/or regulate an industry that’s already grown far beyond the scope and speed of the legal system, requiring years of reforms, court time and political debate while these companies put aside their differences and mount a combined front against a slow moving enemy.
      The second and most likely outcome is a number of smaller concessions and increased cooperation with governments, falling short of the original purpose and probably creating a whole new set of problems in the long run.

      • Anything is better than the current status quo, Which is essentially apple doing as it wants without consequence.

        Microsoft was severely punished in the past for monopolistic behaviour, Apple has done the same if not worse than Microsoft yet has largely escaped any and all punishment.

        Something needs to change.

        All I can do is hope 🙁

        • The sad thing is the MS case is what I’m basing the outcome on.

          It’s true that their punishment was one of the harshest given to a company in our lifetimes but it’s everything that happened afterwards that’s seen as the biggest failure of the outdated antitrust laws, at least until now.
          Basically MS escaped punishment by successfully appealing the decision, making changes to their operations on their own terms, solidified their dominance and ultimately became stronger than ever.

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