Apple remains stubborn, Microsoft reacts with a cold. The big launch of the gaming platform xCloud planned for September 2020 will take place, but not on devices with iOS or iPadOS. Apple is blocking the way to the app store.
It is not surprising that Apple is also refusing the major providers Google and Microsoft to include their Stadia and xCloud gaming platforms in the app store. Telegram and Facebook had had the same experience before . The reason is always the same.
Apple insists on app store guidelines
In doing so, Apple has its self-imposed app store guidelines behind it. They do not allow apps to be sold, which in turn are app stores. And as such, Apple classifies the gaming platforms of the various providers. They offer direct access to a growing number of games, which in turn would then no longer go through the app store’s review process individually.
That is exactly the crux of the matter. Apple sees the security of its customers at risk if they can no longer rely on the fact that every app that can be installed on the iPhone or iPad has also gone through the app store’s review process. On a positive note, these strict guidelines have in fact ensured that there were practically no malware scandals in the app store over the past 13 years. Google’s Play Store wrote completely different stories .
Apple also claims that these guidelines would be applied equally to everyone and would be enforced without exception. Microsoft does not want to accept that. The company, which was otherwise rather cautious in dealing with the competition, felt compelled to submit an official statement on the exclusion from the app store.
Microsoft questions the meaning of the guidelines
The test phase of the xCloud preview app for iOS has expired, according to the company. Unfortunately, there is no further perspective that would allow the xCloud platform for iPhone users to go into regular operation via the Apple App Store. Apple is the only platform provider to refuse to allow its customers cloud gaming and gaming subscriptions such as the Xbox Game Pass. Apple rated gaming apps consistently differently than other apps with interactive content.
For example, all games that would be offered within the Xbox Game Pass have been checked by independent bodies under various aspects, such as the protection of minors. Microsoft wants to imply that a further examination by the Apple review team is unnecessary.
Despite initially lacking perspective, Microsoft wants to continue trying to find a way to make its own gaming platform accessible to iOS users. After all, the customer must be at the center of all considerations. We know from users that they do not want to make their gaming habits dependent on certain devices.
Microsoft’s relatively clear reaction, which The Verge has received in writing, shows the economic importance the issue has for the company. After all, mobile games are considered the most profitable app category of all and are likely to make up a significant part of the 15 billion US dollars that Apple’s app store generated in sales last year. Also painful is the fact that Apple itself operates a gaming platform for iPhones and iPads with the Arcade service , while the company practically completely rules out competition with reference to app store rules.
App store rules are legally checked
In addition to Microsoft’s xCloud, Google’s Stadia and Facebook Gaming are also affected. Not least in view of the cumulative influence of these three big tech companies, it is questionable how long Apple will get away with referring to self-imposed rules.
On June 17, 2020, the EU Commission decided to initiate two independent antitrust proceedings. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager now wants to check whether the app store regulation is compatible with European antitrust law. A second procedure is to check whether Apple is also violating European competition law with its restrictive requirements for mobile payments.
This is Microsoft’s Project xCloud
Project xCloud is a cloud gaming service that is technically very similar to Google’s Stadia . The games are run on servers and the user’s device acts as a kind of monitor with remote control. The transmission of moving images can generate large amounts of data, which is why a good quality Internet connection is necessary.
The xCloud library includes over 50 games, including Microsoft flagships such as Gears of War 5 or Forza Horizon 4 as well as third-party titles such as Madden 20 or Civilization 6. A Microsoft account and an Android device are required for use. A version for Windows is being worked on.