Apple at odds with Microsoft, Google and Facebook on cloud gaming

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Apple is at odds with Microsoft, Facebook and Google when it comes to cloud gaming. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can now use the beta of xCloud to play a selection of games on their smartphones, except for iOS as a result of Apple policy. 

Microsoft launched a beta last Tuesday that allows Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers to play a selection of games on their smartphones. The beta ends on September 11th and on September 15th xCloud will be officially launched on all Android devices, but support for iOS is still missing.  

Apple does not support cloud gaming provided by other companies. Microsoft blames the strict requirements for publishing applications on the App Store. The guidelines of the Apple Store prohibit services that stream games using the cloud. Apple says it is happy to welcome the service, as long as they comply with the rules. “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.” 

Xbox Game Pass, which gives you access to xCloud, has previously been released on iOS as a preview, but Microsoft has since announced that Xbox Game Pass will not return to the App Store. As a result, you will no longer be able to access xCloud.  

Google and Facebook 

Microsoft is not the only company that is experiencing difficulties when it comes to releasing its services on the App Store. Google released their version of a cloud gaming platform with Google Stadia last year, but this service is not available on iOS either. Facebook is also encountering this problem. The company has been trying to launch the Facebook Gaming App on the App Store for some time but without success.  

This does not mean that there are no external gaming platforms on the App Store at all. Steam Link and PS4 Remote Play are both available, but the negotiations took almost a year. The reason these apps are allowed is that they stream games from a device on the same local network instead of over the cloud.

Missing revenue 

Missing out on potential revenue is most likely the reason for banning applications such as xCloud and Stadia. Game developers on the App Store typically need to transfer 30 percent of the transaction to Apple, but apps such as xCloud serve as a portal to access an already existing catalogue of games. This means Apple doesn’t make any profit.  

Maybe Apple will change its mind in the future, but for now it doesn’t seem likely.