Following complaints from several developers in recent months, Apple today announced some changes to the App Store Review Guidelines related to streaming gaming platforms. However, it doesn’t appear that other companies have approved these changes, at least that’s what Microsoft says.
Prior to today’s changes to the App Store Review Guidelines, Apple rejected any streaming game apps on the grounds that the company must review and approve each game individually. The new guidelines allow you to release game streaming apps on the App Store, but the rules are the same as before.
Streaming games are allowed as long as they meet all guidelines ̵1; for example, every game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for research, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc. , Internet apps and web browsers are always open to reach all users outside the App Store.
In response to the new App Store Review Guidelines, Microsoft said The Verge this keeps “a bad experience for customers” as Apple is still trying to enforce strict rules for this category of apps, which makes it impractical to launch them in the App Store. The company was testing its xCloud gaming platform on iOS, but was shut down last month for non-compliance with App Store policies.
Apple wants each streaming game to be released as a standalone app rather than a single app that works as an alternative to the App Store. In other words, if Microsoft wants xCloud on iOS, it will have to release all 100+ games on the App Store as individual apps and each will have to go through Apple’s review process.
Streaming games also need to be adapted to offer any additional item purchases through Apple’s in-app purchase system. According to Microsoft, xCloud’s primary purpose is to make the gaming experience as easy and intuitive as any movie or music streaming service, and Apple’s rules would prevent just that:
Gamers want to jump straight into a game from their curated catalog within an app, just like they do movies or songs, and not be forced to download more than 100 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 central to this mission.
Microsoft will officially launch the xCloud platform on Android devices next week, but the company hasn’t mentioned whether it plans to launch xCloud games on the iOS App Store in line with the App Store guidelines, which seems very unlikely.
You can find the fully updated App Store review guidelines on Apple’s developer website.
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