I think it’s clear that cloud gaming is the future. It just appears that it won’t be a future that Apple users will see, as the company won’t allow the likes of Google’s Stadia or Microsoft’s xCloud to launch through their App Store, because of what they claim are violations of their guidelines.
We’ve always known that there were issues holding the company back for delivering their cloud gaming services to iOS, but now in a statement to Business Insider, Microsoft has officially confirmed the reasons for thism and it looks like their cloud gaming service will never make their way to iOS devices.
At least not until Apple decides to change the rules:
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.
It appears the big issue at fault is the way that Apple views these services as more of a remote desktop service than a streaming service like Netflix, Amazon or Showmax. Something which Microsoft disagrees on, but also feels that Apple is being overly restrictive here on and places the blame firmly with them for not allowing Cloud gaming to be a reality on their platform, as they shared with The Verge:
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. All games available in the Xbox Game Pass catalog are rated for content by independent industry ratings bodies such as the ESRB and regional equivalents. We are committed to finding a path to bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to the iOS platform. We believe that the customer should be at the heart of the gaming experience and gamers tell us they want to play, connect and share anywhere, no matter where they are. We agree.
I think the big issue is that Apple doesn’t’ really have control of what games you play or pay for through these services, with these games not stored on a local device in your home unlike the Apple-approved Valve Steam Link app (although Valve had its own set of troubles getting Steam Link approved on iOS).
It does all seem a little silly to me and it comes across as if Apple is being a little strict and possibly greedy in how they view control over the monetisation and usage of apps through their store. Wait until Apple gets in on cloud gaming and then suddenly, they will gladly open it up and make it a possiblity through their App Store.
If they don’t change their tune soon though it’s likely they could miss out on the next big thing in gaming (even if it is still several years away from really becoming feasible in most parts of the world) and they’ll never be able to catch up.
Last Updated: August 7, 2020