It seems that the streaming services Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud will not be available for iPhone or iPad anytime soon. Today, Apple spelled out the terms that were created for these services, and confirmed some of Microsoft̵
Here is an excerpt from the new part of the review guidelines, 4.9:
4.9 Streaming games
Streaming games are allowed as long as they adhere to all guidelines – for example, every game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate search metadata, games must purchase in-app to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, it is always open Internet and browser apps to reach all users outside App Store.
- 4.9.1 Each streaming game must be sent to App Store as an individual app so that it has one App Store product page, displayed in charts and searches, has user ratings and review, can be managed with ScreenTime and other parental control tabs, displayed on user’s device, etc.
- 4.9.2 Streaming gaming services can offer a directory app on App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games on 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 the Sign In with Apple. All games included in the catalog app must link to one person App Store product page.
If you do not want to read legal information, the core is that while it is technically possible for streaming services to be available on iOS, each game offered on these services must A) function as its own app, with a dedicated entry in the App Store, and B) passes Apple’s rigorous review process as if it were its own app.
In addition, all gaming streaming services will have to offer in-app purchases for games, DLC and microtransactions using Sign In with Apple and the App Store’s payment processing system. This means that a 30% cut in the price goes to Apple, which is at the heart of the company’s current conflict with Epic Games.
It is worth noting that Apple does not use the same strict heading on streaming services that are not games. Not all videos on YouTube or Netflix need their own iOS app with its own approval process.
While streaming services may operate within these guidelines, it seems unlikely that any of them will be willing to do so, at least in this infant stage of streaming service platforms. GeForce NOW and Xbox Game Streaming both offer hundreds of titles, Stadia has dozens. Publishing all of these games (or accessing them) as individual apps makes a huge investment of time and money, not to mention the individual maintenance of each title or the cost of sharing revenue on all game purchases.
Some see this as an indication that Apple is interested in its own gaming streaming platform. If I can spit a little: I do not see it happening. Apple has not shown any interest in the kind of technology backbone that will require. If you’re looking for a competitive edge here, the Apple Arcade subscription is the one to look at. It follows Apple’s own instructions for downloading and approving individual games, and of course benefits Apple enormously for both initial and recurring purchases.
We expect to hear from Microsoft, Google and others in response to this more explicit description of Apple’s game streaming policy. If any of them indicate that they are willing to comply with the terms, we will be surprised and happy to report it.
Source: Apple via CNBC