Microsoft's xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Not Coming to iOS Due to Apple's Restrictions [Updated]

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Microsoft's "Project xCloud" streaming game service that pairs with its Xbox Game Pass won't be available on iPhone and iPad when it launches this September, and Apple's App Store restrictions are to blame.


Xbox Game Pass and its accompanying xCloud streaming feature offer access to hundreds of games that can be streamed to mobile devices, and Apple says that because it can't review each game available through Game Pass, it can't be allowed on the App Store.

In a statement to Business Insider, an Apple spokesperson said that the restrictions are designed to protect consumers and provide a level playing field to developers.
"The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers. Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers."

"Our customers enjoy great apps and games from millions of developers, and gaming services can absolutely launch on 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 charts and search. In addition to the App Store, developers can choose to reach all iPhone and iPad users over the web through Safari and other browsers on the App Store."
Project xCloud, a new arm of the Xbox Game Pass feature that lets users download games to a PC or Xbox, will provide streaming access to more than 100 games for $15 a month, with games able to be played on smartphones and tablets. It's designed to be like Netflix for games.

Microsoft made a TestFlight beta available for Project xCloud earlier this year, but it became clear yesterday that xCloud isn't going to be available on iOS devices at launch.

In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the company wants to make Game Pass available on all devices, but there's no info on iOS at this time.
"It's our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices, but we have nothing further to share at this time regarding iOS."
Microsoft has known that it would be difficult to launch the streaming gaming service on iOS since beta testing began. When the TestFlight version of the app was released for iOS users, Microsoft said that the preview experience would "look and feel different" on iOS because of Apple's limitations. iPhone and iPad users testing the feature could only stream games from the cloud and not from an Xbox console, eliminating the pick up and play on any device option.

Microsoft was also only able to make one game available on TestFlight, "Halo: The Master Chief Collection" because Apple's App Store rules require games in a game subscription to be owned or licensed by the developer.

Google offers a similar streaming gaming service called Google Stadia, which Apple has not allowed on the App Store. Stadia can be accessed on Android devices, but not on iPhones and iPads. The same goes for Nvidia's streaming gaming service, GeForce Now.

Valve also ran into trouble when attempting to make Steam Link available on iPhones and iPads, with Apple rejecting the app after it was submitted for review.

Valve was ultimately able to launch the app by removing the ability to purchase apps from within the Steam Link store, which may have led Apple to ultimately approve the app.

Steam Link is designed to allow you to play your own Steam games on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, streaming from a Mac or PC, so it is somewhat different than Google Stadia and Project xCloud, services that make a catalog of games available.

Update: In a statement to CNET, Microsoft said it does not have a path to bring its app to the iOS App Store.
Our testing period for the Project xCloud Preview app for iOS has expired. Unfortunately, we do not have a path to bring our vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS via the Apple App Store. Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass. And it consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content. All games available in the Xbox Game Pass catalog are rated for content by independent industry ratings bodies such as the ESRB and regional equivalents. We are committed to finding a path to bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to the iOS platform. We believe that the customer should be at the heart of the gaming experience and gamers tell us they want to play, connect, and share anywhere, no matter where they are. We agree.
Article Link: Microsoft's xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Not Coming to iOS Due to Apple's Restrictions [Updated]
 
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Jeaz

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2009
442
537
Sweden
I personally won’t miss xCloud on iOS since I have my bases covered regarding gaming, but this is a horrible policy from Apple, and they are really playing into the hands of their competitors and those who claim they have too much control.
I mean, trying to resist cloud streaming service like this is just tone deaf.
 

Reason077

macrumors 68020
Aug 14, 2007
2,297
901
I've been using Google Stadia lately, and it's pretty great despite the limited game selection. Has many advantages:

- Play games that you otherwise can't on Mac
- Games run on server and "load" super fast
- Great graphics even on low-end system, don't need fancy graphics card
- No long downloads, patch downloads, or games taking up 10s of GB in HDD space
- Much better battery life on mobile devices
- Pick up where you left off on a different device
- Makes cheating harder

I'm convinced: Streaming is the future of games.
 
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Wildkraut

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2015
915
1,104
This is getting ridiculous at this point. We're not babies. Just put a warning label or whatever and allow it on the App Store.
Every day i read something Apple negative like that in the news.
Im getting closer and closer to ditch my Apple stuff, they are seriously $@$*! me off.
If US & EU Antitrust don’t get them under control, I’m gone.
It’s staring to feel bad, supporting Apple by buying and using their devices.
 

Mac Rules

macrumors 6502a
Jul 15, 2006
591
571
Europe
I've been using Google Stadia lately, and it's pretty great despite the limited game selection. Has many advantages:

- Play games that you otherwise can't on Mac
- Games run on server and "load" super fast
- Great graphics even on low-end system, don't need fancy graphics card
- Much better battery life on mobile devices
- Pick up where you left off on a different device
- Makes cheating harder

I'm convinced: Streaming is the future of games.
It's not the "future" but it is certainly part of it for the reasons you've laid out. Purists will always want the speed and fidelity that a local system can provide; physics gets in the way of streaming winning out entirely (looking at you lag!).
 

trim

macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2020
4
6
UK
The big issue I see with using these services on mobile is the data usage must be through the roof.

I guess that lots of the "unlimited" data plans are not truly unlimited and as soon as you start streaming games for hours on end you'll end up going over fair usage policy.

Still a bad move on Apple's part.
 

edgonzalez32

Suspended
Jul 21, 2011
520
940
Welp, that Pixel 5 is looking even better.

Not trying to say that as a hot take. But these restrictions are completely out of control. Especially as someone who loves game pass. I mean I was even thinking about getting an iPad pro. But **** it, I'll just get a Samsung tablet. Idk man, I can't understand how people continue to constantly defend Apple with this.
 
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