Home / NewTech / Apple is changing the App Store rules to allow streaming game services. According to Xbox, this is not enough

Apple is changing the App Store rules to allow streaming game services. According to Xbox, this is not enough


Streaming games will likely hit the App Store soon.

Patrick Holland / CNET

This story is part of Apple event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple is changing its App Store rules to enable game streaming services that allow users to play video games over the internet in a similar way to streaming movies on Netflix. The move marks the iPhone maker’s appreciation for changing the way some people play video games.

Apple said the new rules will enable apps that connect to game streaming services like Sony’s PlayStation Now, Microsoft’s Xbox xCloud, Google’s Stadia, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now. But there is a catch.

Apple doesn’t just let game companies publish an app like film and TV companies do. Instead, game streaming companies must submit an app for every single game on their service, which Apple then reviews like any other 1.8 million program in the App Store.

Look at that:

My impressions of Microsoft X-Cloud after a week


People who want to use a game streaming service can find the associated games in the Apple App Store with ratings and ratings just like any other app. When they open the game’s app it will likely connect to the streaming service and let them start playing.

It also means that if a subscription service offers hundreds of games, each will need a separate app that connects to that service.

“Games offered in a subscription to a streaming game service must be downloaded directly from the App Store, must be designed to avoid double payments by a subscriber, and must not penalize customers without subscribers,” Apple said in its new guidelines.


Google’s Stadia service launched last year and promises to make games more social through YouTube. It has received mixed reviews so far.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The company’s move is Apple’s most recent recognition of the way people are rapidly transforming the way they interact with entertainment. A few years ago, game subscriptions were a small part of the industry offered by few companies. However, as the previous catalogs grew, game makers have recognized the opportunity to help people access older games in new ways, including through subscription, streaming of games, or a combination thereof.

The move also underscores Apple’s power in the games industry. Although the iPhone and iPad are not typically considered traditional video game consoles, the devices are used by more than 1 billion people in 175 countries. And gaming is one of the most popular things people do on the devices. This makes Apple’s devices, as well as devices with Google’s Android software, an attractive opportunity for console manufacturers such as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

The iPhone maker’s new rules also come into effect shortly before the company’s release iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 software for iPhones and iPads. Apple is also expected to announce one new iPhones Sometime in the coming weeks with a new design and promising Superfast 5G wireless speeds.

Developers and tech companies say the speeds 5G promises will enable games to be streamed on the go. And a few tests including a new one in South Koreahave shown great promise.

Meanwhile, Apple’s changed rules are causing the company to effectively reverse its previous stance against allowing game streaming services on iPhones and iPads.

Apples App Store Review GuidelinesThe staff that will determine whether programs submitted to the App Store meet the company’s criteria for security, usability, and monetization have not previously approved any game streaming services. In August, the company said in a statement that it was concerned about not being able to review every single game from a particular game service. The changes in the company make this possible.

Microsoft, which had previously criticized Apple’s rules for restricting its Xbox game streaming service, said in a statement that it disagreed with Apple’s approach.

“This remains a bad experience for customers,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement. “Players want to jump straight into a game from a curated catalog in an app, just like they do with movies or songs, rather than having to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We strive to be players Making it the center of everything we do and providing a great experience is at the core of that mission. “

Play on subscription


Microsoft announced a partnership with Samsung in August to bring streaming of the Xbox Games Pass to Samsung phones.

Lori Grunin / CNET

Game streaming services first caused a stir in 2010 when services like OnLive and Gaikai proved they could stream a game over the internet. Both companies were eventually bought by Sony, which launched its PlayStation Now service in 2014. Since grown to offer more than 800 titles.

More recently, Microsoft, Google, and chipmaker Nvidia have offered their take on technology based on subscription or single game purchases, or a combination of both.

For example, Microsoft plans to offer streaming technology through the Xbox Games Pass Ultimate service for $ 14.99 per monthIt gives users access to 100+ games on Xbox or PC, as well as the Xbox Live social network. The company debuted early access to the service for Android devices, but said in August that Apple’s App Store rules meant the Xbox streaming service could not run on iPhones or iPads.

“Apple is the only all-purpose platform that denies consumers cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass,” the company said at the time. It is unclear whether Microsoft will ultimately agree to Apple’s guidelines.

Google and Nvidia declined to comment. Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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