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Earlier today, Apple revised its App Store guidelines to give companies such as Microsoft and Google a way to offer their video game streaming platforms on iOS, but did so with a major caveat. Apple said those companies could release catalog-style apps that collect and link to games iOS users would have to download individually through the App Store. Microsoft, which will launch its xCloud streaming service on Android devices on September 15th, has now come out against the policy.
“This remains a bad experience for customers,” a spokesperson for the company told The Verge. “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.”
Microsoft did not go on to say whether it will rework xCloud to comply with Apple’s new policy. A significant point of contention for Microsoft is that Apple does not require companies like Netflix and Disney to offer every single movie on their respective streaming platforms through individual apps. Were Microsoft to rework xCloud to comply with the new policy, every game offered through the service would be subject to the 30 percent cut Apple takes from in-app purchases. The fee is at the center of the company’s ongoing legal feud with Epic.
In August, Apple said it had to limit game streaming services because it would have to review and approve each title individually. According to the company, the advantage of this approach is that each game would show up in the App Store charts and be easily searchable. It would also give iOS users the opportunity to rate and review each title, as well as manage them individually through ScreenTime. Of course, having to download each xCloud game that you want to play would, in a way, ultimately defeat the purpose of the platform.