Apple today released its guidelines for reviewing the iOS App Store for streaming games from services such as Microsoft xCloud, Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now. But Apple still has restrictions on how users pay for the games and demands that it still get its 30% cut on game sales.
While the move helps Apple keep up with the world of gaming streaming, it makes it quite inconvenient for gamers to buy new games via iOS.
Apple allows these services to stream games to players, which means they can host the game on cloud-connected servers and send videos of the game back to users, allowing players to access games they have not downloaded or play games on the phone or tablet hardware otherwise does not support. For example, you can play Red Dead Redemption 2 on Google Stadium on an iPhone or iPad.
Apple had previously rejected these streaming apps as originally proposed, in part because the apps could have allowed players to bypass the App Store when they purchased, and that would have meant Apple would not get a 30% cut. According to the new guidelines, every single game purchased on a streaming service must be “downloaded”
Companies like Microsoft, Google and Nvidia can offer a catalog app on the App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games uploaded to the App Store, as long as the app follows Apple’s guidelines. These apps must offer an option to pay for a subscription with Apple’s payment system and use Sign In with Apple.
It is difficult to say if this is good news, as there are many callers to jump through, and the game streaming companies have to decide if it is worth it for them. It is not clear what happens if you have already paid for a subscription directly on Google and just want to play a streamed game on iPhone. Sounds like you had to pay for that game again, and give Apple a 30% cut.
Google and Nvidia declined to comment. But Microsoft came out swinging.
“This is still a bad experience for customers,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement. “Players will jump directly into a game from their curated catalog in one app, just as they do with movies or songs, and will not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We are committed to putting players at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is at the heart of that mission. “
Epic Games is still out of luck due to the ongoing dispute with Apple, where Epic broke the store’s rules and uploaded a version of Fortnite that enabled direct payments to Epic as an alternative to Apple’s in-app purchasing system, cutting Apple by 30% cut. Apple said that apps are not allowed to include hidden features with such functionality that Apple does not approve. App creators must disclose changes in functionality when submitting apps for review.
Apple also said that apps can not require users to review an app, review the app, watch videos, download other apps, tap ads, enable tracking or take other similar actions to do things in the game or app.
Here are the relevant guidelines for game streaming:
4.92 Streaming Games
Streaming games are allowed as long as they comply with all guidelines – for example, every game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate search metadata, games must be purchased in the app to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, it is always open Internet and browser apps to reach all users outside the App Store.
Each streaming game must be submitted to the App Store as an individual app, so that it has an App Store product page, appears in charts and searches, has user ratings and reviews, can be managed with ScreenTime and other parental control apps, appears on the user’s device, etc. .
Streaming game services may offer a catalog app in the App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games on the App Store, provided that the app complies with all policies, including offering users the option to pay for a subscription with in-app purchases and use Sign in with Apple. All games included in the catalog app must link to a single App Store product page.