Home / Apple / Michael Tsai – Blog – New guidelines for the Apple Store for streaming games

Michael Tsai – Blog – New guidelines for the Apple Store for streaming games

Apple (also: Federico Viticci, John Voorhees, Juli Clover):

3.1.2 (a): Games offered in a streaming service subscription must be downloaded directly from the App Store, must be designed to avoid duplicate payment from a subscriber, and should not disadvantage customers who do not subscribe.

I’m not sure what that means. Is gaming not allowed to be just a subscriber? Are discounts prohibited for customers who bought directly?

4.9: Streaming games Streaming games are allowed as long as they comply with all guidelines – for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate search metadata, games must use in-app purchases to unlock features or functionality, etc.


Of course, there are always open Internet and browser apps to reach all users outside the App Store.

Ah, yes, the very sweet solution that Apple disadvantages.


: 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 review, can be managed with ScreenTime and other parental control patches. , appears on the user’s device, etc.

4.9.2: Streaming game services may offer a directory app in the App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games in the App Store, provided 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.

Apple is trying to force a new paradigm into its old App Store model. This is not a good sign when rules have so many special cases. Apps that offer curated directories over other apps are not allowed, except for streaming games. Multiple copies of the same shell app that only display different content are not allowed, except that they are required for streaming games. With video and book apps, there can be innovation in managing the content of a single app, but not for streaming games.

2.3.1: Do not include any hidden, sleeping or paperless features in your app; the app’s functionality should be clear to end users and the App Review.

Do not be epic.

2.3.1: All new features, functionality and product changes must be described specifically in the App Store Connect Review section (generic descriptions will be rejected) and available for review.

Let’s see if this is actually enforced.

Kyle Howells:

In other news: Netflix will be allowed on the AppStore, but every TV show episode or movie must be available on the AppStore as it has its own app that can be downloaded separately.

John Voorhees:

Obviously, many game streaming services offer non-UIKit games that can be downloaded from the App Store, which will be a technical barrier to many services.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Of course, this means that any game provided by xCloud must follow Apple’s other rules – which means that in-app purchases need to go through Apple’s system (which due to the nature of xCloud basically means that any game with microtransactions will not be allowed)

Jason Snell:

The real question is, did Apple create these guidelines and know that Google and Microsoft will never accept them? And would access to iOS be worth Google and Microsoft jumping through all these cracks? My guess is yes and no, but you never know.

Dan Moren:

From Apple’s point of view, it now has explicit rules to point out, but honestly, all of this really means that there will be no game streaming services on the App Store. Neither Microsoft nor Epic will spend time or money on what is not insignificant amount of work and must deliver the 30 percent cut to Apple on top of that. Just not going to happen.

In my opinion, this is still a short-term and ill-considered decision on Apple’s part. Game streaming services do not disappear, and if iOS is the only platform they are not available on, it honestly only hurts iOS. Apple has clearly stated that they do not care about losing these customers – that it is an acceptable trade-off not to lose revenue and control over the contents of the App Store.

Michael Gartenberg:

Amazing what’s going on over there. Apple is going to war with developers and Apple has the upper hand? Where do devs go to get on the chosen platform for so many. The app store was once great for all parties. Not so much anymore.

Rich Mogull:

I do not receive these updated App Store policies. If the game streams and does not run locally, the security model is the same for all games. Basically, this is like approving each movie on Netflix and having a different App Store listing for each. What am I missing?

It’s not about security.


The extra friction alone is a significant handicap. Yes, your streaming library is there, but you have to pull the title-by-title from the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused toilet with a sign on the door that says “Beware of the Leopard”.

Eli Hodapp:

Here’s what’s really amazing about today’s App Store policy update to “allow” xCloud and Stadia, which you can really only appreciate if you’ve followed Apple’s bad decisions about how to clumsily handle everything that has to do with gaming to do …


Apple cited 4.3 in the App Store guidelines, specifically telling Choice of Games that their separate apps are “too similar”, even though each of them was their own truly unique storytelling adventure. For Apple, books with words on a page and choices are exactly the same I guess.

Apple stuck to the decision to block the Choice of Games from publishing individual books, instead of forcing them to quickly develop an omnibus app that could serve as a unique container for all the titles, since individual skis were no longer allowed.

This was a complete nightmare for Choice of Games as their releases were completely silent until they could develop this new container app that Apple forced them to. It also created a big support headache, which you can see from the FAQ

With this in mind, it’s really funny that Apple’s “solution” for xCloud and Stadia being “allowed” is to get them to spam the App Store with what can literally be hundreds of viewer apps for all the different games, especially with the secondary App Store. -Only versions.


App Store Review App Store App Play iOS iOS 13 iOS App Microsoft Microsoft xCloud

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