Microsoft has responded to Apple’s updated terms of service that at first glance opens the door somewhat for streaming services like xCloud to exist in the iOS App Store. Unfortunately, the updated terms are still heavily restricted and in an official statement, Microsoft says it “remains a bad experience for customers.”
Apple previously barred video game streaming services like xCloud and Stadia from using the iOS App Store, citing security concerns. Today, the company announced some revisions that would let streaming subscription services onto the App Store but with serious caveats.
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“Games offered in a streaming game service subscription must be downloaded directly from the App Store, must be designed to avoid duplicate payment by a subscriber, and should not disadvantage non-subscriber customers,” says Apple’s new ToS.
Apps for Streaming Services may be allowed on the App Store as a “catalog app” that will help users sign up for the service and see what’s available on platforms like xCloud and Stadia. But Apple says each game available must have an individual App Store page, which is a big ask considering xCloud offers hundreds of games.
And that’s on top of Apple’s customary 30 percent cut, which Epic Games is fighting in an ongoing lawsuit.
In a statement to IGN, a Microsoft spokesperson said,
“This remains a bad experience for customers. Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We’re committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is core to that mission.”
In August, Microsoft announced it will be unable to bring xCloud to iOS because Apple previously ruled game streaming services violated App Store guidelines. While the new terms now allow xCloud to launch iOS Apps, there are still strict rules that will prevent Microsoft from launching the full xCloud service on iOS, at least for the time being.
Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.