Cut corners: Amid the controversial litigation with Epic Games, Apple updated its App Store policies that allow third-party game streaming services on iOS and iPadOS. But there’s a big catch: Apple wants companies to submit their games individually as separate apps.
The move means game streaming services like xCloud and Stadia can make the jump to iPhones and iPads, but that individual titles offered by each service must be published as separate iOS and iPadOS apps. While Apple allows companies like Microsoft and Google to create catalog-style apps that have links to all of their xCloud and Stadia titles, those links merely instruct users to download each title at a game-by-game basis.
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The guidelines mean, of course, that apps downloaded from services like xCloud are subject to the infamous “Apple Tax” that is currently at the center of a controversial legal battle between Apple and Epic Games.
Apple is reducing in-app purchases in apps downloaded from the App Store by 30 percent. Developers trying to offer their own payment system like Epic Games will have to be removed according to Apple’s guidelines.
Microsoft advises that Apple does not impose similar restrictions on video streaming services like Netflix or Disney Plus, or music streaming services like Spotify. These developers are not required to submit each movie, TV show, or album as a separate download. However, with the games industry making a significant contribution to Apple’s revenue by reducing in-app purchases by 30 percent, it’s clear why the company is imposing these new guidelines on game streaming services.
Right now, we don’t know if Microsoft’s streaming service, which launches next week as the brand new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, will be available for iOS or iPadOS. This is certainly possible in light of Apple’s new guidelines, but only if Microsoft is willing to accept the terms.