Apple released new App Store rules on Friday that are likely to affect Microsoft and Google’s streaming services. A senior video game industry analyst says the move could have a notable impact on the ongoing feud between Apple and Epic Games.
The new guidelines, in place prior to the release of iOS 14, state that game streaming services (such as Microsoft xCloud and Google Stadia) are allowed on iOS devices, but that all games included in that subscription are downloaded directly from the App Store Need to become “.
Streaming game services may offer a catalog app on the app store that allows users to sign up for the service and find the games on the app store, provided the app complies with all guidelines, including the ability to pay for a subscription in-app -Buy and use Sign in with Apple, ”the guidelines say. “All games included in the catalog app must be linked to a single App Store product page.”
This is problematic in a few points. First and foremost, the allure of a game streaming service is that it doesn’t require users to download games. They’re played from a cloud server, so you can jump from any platform almost instantly. And many of the games on xCloud, for example, don’t have an App Store product page. (Apple probably won’t be making an iOS version of Halo Infinite, for example.)
Aside from a surprising lack of understanding of how game streaming services work, Apple’s move could have other implications, says Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities.
“Apple is making a mistake,” he says. “Everything they do is anti-competitive, an arrow in Epic’s legal quiver – and that is anti-competitive.”
The key to the anti-competitive claim is the Xbox Game Pass and the imminent inclusion of xCloud. Stadia hasn’t found any real draw with gamers yet, but Game Pass has over 10 million members, the company said in a prize draw earlier this year. While there is a Game Pass app, it doesn’t offer streaming – and Microsoft hasn’t officially announced any plans to bring xCloud to iOS devices. However, this was widely expected.
According to Lachter, Apple is calling for a reduction in subscription prices with the new regulations, as is the case with some other streaming services. (For example, sign up for a Spotify Premium account on your iPhone or iPad and Apple will get part of the monthly payment, Pachter says. Sign up for Premium on your PC, but it doesn’t.)
The only company with one exception to this rule is Netflix, which does not offer logins on Apple devices. Given its size, Microsoft is likely negotiating a similar exemption with Apple.
Microsoft supports Epic
In August, however, Microsoft very publicly entered the legal battle between Epic and Apple, backing Epic with a statement of support that denying access to Unreal Engine on Mac and iOS “will harm game developers and gamers”.
“I think this is retaliation from Apple for this letter,” said Pachter.
Epic accuses Apple of engaging in anti-competitive practices by forcing the company to charge higher prices for in-app purchases in the App Store, such as V-Bucks in Fourteen days. The argument between the two companies began in August after Epic tried to bypass the 30% commission Apple collects from in-app transactions Fourteen days by offering a feature that allows players to make purchases directly from the developer at a discount.
In the past few weeks, Apple has started to fight back, counterclaiming Epic for breach of contract and demanding unspecified redress for money earned through the App Store. According to the company, Epic has made over $ 600 million on the App Store to date.
However, by opening another front in its growing battle against gaming companies, Apple could take defeat.
“Apple consistently steps on its own [foot], “he says.” You could have fought Epic and not booted Fourteen days from the server. … Now do it with Microsoft. And Microsoft is big – as big as Apple. “