Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud are already on the market and aspire, together with GeForce Now, to be the main exponents of video game streaming. On Android, at least, because with regard to iOS Apple said that these types of services did not meet the standards of its application store. Now the company has updated its policies and added a section dedicated to these types of services where it not only opens the door for them to work, but also establishes the framework of conditions.
In Apple’s developer policy, updated on September 11, the point “4.9. Streaming video games” has been added. In it, the Cupertino company explains that video game streaming is allowed as long as it adheres to the App Store guidelines. That means, among other things, submitting each game for review and approval by Apple.
Video game streaming yes, but with conditions
When Apple said that Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud did not comply with the rules of the App Store, it referred precisely to the fact that “game services can absolutely be launched in the App Store as long as they follow the same set of guidelines applicable to all developers, including submitting games individually for review and appearing in rankings and searches. ” Google and Microsoft services do not work that way, but have a “catalog app” that allows access to the game.
However, if Google and Microsoft want their services to work on iOS and iPadOS, “each streaming game must be submitted to the App Store as an individual application for it to have a product page in the App Store, appear in the graphics and in search, have user ratings and reviews, can be managed with Screen Time and other parental control applications, appear on the user’s device, etc.”
Google Stadia and Microsoft xConsole service will have to be submitted individually for review
In other words, if a user wants to play ‘Gylt’, one of the Google Stadia exclusives, Google would have to send that game as if it were a normal app. ‘Gylt’ must be indexed in the App Store, have its own listing and be approved by Apple. The same will have to apply to all the games of each service. And how do you access video games? Through the catalog app, for example.
According to Apple, “streaming game services may offer a catalog application in the App Store to help users register for the service and find the games in the App Store, as long as the application meets all guidelines. , including offering users the option to pay for a subscription with an in-app purchase and use the “Sign in with Apple” feature. All games listed in the app catalog must link to an individual product page of the App Store “.
In addition, in the section of allowed uses of subscriptions with automatic renewal, Apple states that “the games offered in a subscription of streaming games service must be downloaded directly from the App Store, they must be designed to avoid duplication of payments by part subscriber and must not put non-subscribing customers at a disadvantage. “
The policy, while opening the door for services to work on iOS, is a long and tedious process in which Apple, in one way or another, still has the last word. Furthermore, due to the way the process is designed, the user seems to be forced to download an app (which would really be a kind of direct access) for each game that they want to stream, instead of a single app that allows them to be launched directly.
This is something that has been criticized by Microsoft, which has told IGN that “this is still a bad experience for customers. Players want to jump directly to a game from their curated catalog within an application as they do with the movies or songs, and not being forced to download more than 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We are committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is at the core of that mission. “.
Now the ball is in the court of Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA and other services, which will have to decide whether to adopt Apple’s policies or if, on the contrary, they prefer not to do so and that their services do not work on iOS and iPadOS. In the case of Google Stadia, the catalog app is available in the App Store and allows you to buy games, but not launch them. On Android, however, it allows you to view the catalog, buy and play natively.