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Microsoft stumbles Apple’s olive branch into cloud games: ‘a bad experience for customers’

Apple issued new App Store rules earlier today, allowing game streaming services such as xCloud or Stadia to exist on iOS or iPadOS with a big catch. Apple wants companies like Microsoft to individually submit their games as separate apps using streaming technology. Microsoft and Google are free to create a “directory” style app that also collects and links to all of these individual apps.

Microsoft is not impressed.

“This is still a bad experience for customers,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement The Verge. “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 1

00 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 this mission. “

Microsoft’s xCloud Game Stream Service.
Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge

If Microsoft were to follow Apple’s proposal, it would mean that every single game streamed to an iPhone or iPad from xCloud would be subject to Apple’s standard App Store rules, including the company’s controversial 30 percent cut in app purchases. It is a cut that is at the center of a legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, and one that has received attention from regulators in the US and the EU.

Microsoft is deliberately raising a point about streaming movies or songs that do not have the same content restrictions as games. Apple does not force Netflix, Disney Plus or Spotify to submit each movie, TV series or album in a separate app. Apple processes games differently in the App Store, and the company generates large revenues from in-app purchases related to games. Gaming is the largest part of the App Store and the largest entertainment industry in the United States, an industry that Apple has not competed in seriously before Apple Arcade.

Microsoft’s statement does not say whether or not the company will rework xCloud to work with Apple’s new rules. Apple’s olive branch with many warnings can still open up for some form of game streaming from Microsoft or Google, as long as both companies are willing to pay the price.

Microsoft is launching its game streaming service, formerly called xCloud, as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate next week. The game streaming option will be available in 22 countries on September 15, but only available on Android smartphones and tablets at launch.

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