Cloud gaming apps are not being pushed by Apple because it violates their policies.
There was already speculation that is now confirmed by Apple so as to why xCloud was not available on Microsoft. Yesterday it sealed the fate of xCloud app – before the big September 15th launch on Android.
Basically, in a statement Apple has said that it won’t ever commit to allowing xCloud and similar apps to work on iOS as they can’t access and review apps individually.
This is what Apple said in its official statement:
"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."
The statement was pretty similar back in March when Apple was asked to comment on potential antitrust issues regarding Apple’s Arcade game subscription service.
In the recent statement, it says that Microsoft could find a solution that allowed them to bring xCloud to iOS via App store.
Following is the complete statement from a Microsoft spokesperson:
"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."
But, in the next month xCloud and Google Stadia will work in a similar fashion. You will pay for the access to the service and the service will permit you to gain access to games for free and through payment from the cloud – and these games won’t be stored in the local device.
What this means is that Apple has no idea what you’re buying or playing from/on its devices as it can’t review them beforehand. Furthermore, there’s no indication of revenue generating by giving access to the subscribed services (that you already pay for).
Apply justifies all of its policies and explicitly provides its App Store guidelines. Check out its section 4.2.7 here:
4.2.7 Remote Desktop Clients: If your remote desktop app acts as a mirror of specific software or services rather than a generic mirror of the host device, it must comply with the following:
(a) The app must only connect to a user-owned host device that is a personal computer or dedicated game console owned by the user, and both the host device and client must be connected on a local and LAN-based network.
(b) Any software or services appearing in the client are fully executed on the host device, rendered on the screen of the host device, and may not use APIs or platform features beyond what is required to stream the Remote Desktop.
(c) All account creation and management must be initiated from the host device.
(d) The UI appearing on the client does not resemble an iOS or App Store view, does not provide a store-like interface, or include the ability to browse, select, or purchase software not already owned or licensed by the user. For the sake of clarity, transactions taking place within mirrored software do not need to use in-app purchase, provided the transactions are processed on the host device.
(e) Thin clients for cloud-based apps are not appropriate for the App Store.