Apple Explains Why Microsoft’s xCloud Is Not on The App Store

Aug 8, 2020
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Apple has provided a statement to explain its stance on why Microsoft's xCloud and Google's Stadia cloud game streaming services are not available in the App Store for iPhone and iPad. In its statement, Apple has missed the point of why users and companies alike are publicly complaining, and instead, it has stuck to its old routine of talking about the App Store's benefits and features.

Microsoft publicly announced that it will not be bringing its xCloud streaming service to iOS and stopped testing early because Apple's App Store policies do not allow the service to work in its intended state.

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Here is the full statement provided to Business Insider by Apple:

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.

Business Insider has interpreted this statement as Apple's unwillingness to publish such apps because it cannot review each of the games offered by these services. This makes no sense whatsoever as Spotify and Netflix also stream a lot of content that does not require Apple's review. Spotify and Netflix's content, along with streaming content from many other services, also does not appear in search results for Apple's TV or iTunes apps, or its accompanying charts.

In response to Apple's statement, Microsoft published a new statement and called out Apple for standing alone as the only general-purpose platform that is holding back cloud gaming via Xbox Game Pass.

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.

Apple's primary goal seems to be to maintain control over the App Store and the apps and games that are allowed to officially exist on iPhone and iPad. The company is obviously afraid of losing control by allowing games to work in ways that it cannot control, which could set a precedent for third-party developers to rely on platforms like xCloud and Stadia to bring their games to the iPhone and iPad, instead of using the App Store.

Whether Apple will do what's right for its customers and change its policies soon is unclear. Facebook Gaming just launched without games after waiting for months for Apple to give in. The best bet for gamers who want to take advantage of xCloud and Stadia from their smartphones is to use Android.

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