Cloud gaming services like Microsoft’s xCloud and Google Stadia might be the future, but the current App Store regulations mean that these services are not going to make their way to iPhones and iPads.
Google’s Stadia is available for Android and basically any PC with an internet connection and Chrome. Microsoft’s xCloud is also available for a bunch of platforms but not iOS. In fact, the company stopped the beta test of its iOS app for xCloud ahead of the launch of the service in September. With cloud gaming services slowly gaining traction, one would have thought that Apple would update the App Store guidelines to allow such apps on the App Store. Instead, the company has issued a statement confirming that such apps violate the App Store guidelines and they will not be available on the store.
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.
Microsoft has also issued a statement on xCloud not being available on iOS and put the blame entirely on Apple and its restrictive policies.
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.
There are workarounds that Microsoft and Google could take to bring their cloud gaming services to iPhones and iPads. Valve’s Steam Link app is already available on the iOS App Store and it allows users to stream their existing library of Steam games to their iPhone. There’s another cloud gaming service Shadow whose basic premise is similar to Microsoft’s Project xCloud and Google Stadia. While the app was initially rejected by Apple, the company updated its app to remove the quick launch feature and acted more like a remote desktop service than a cloud-based game streaming service.[Via The Verge]