Apple Restricting Game Streaming Services Like Google Stadia, Project xCloud from App Store

BY Asif Shaik

Published 25 Mar 2020

It is 2020, and we’re finally getting to use play games without a gaming console or a computer, thanks to cloud-based game streaming services like Google Stadia, Microsoft Project xCloud, and Nvidia GeForce Now. However, these services are being restricted by Apple from reaching iPad and iPhone users due to unnecessarily strict rules.

Want to try Google Stadia on your iPhone or iPad? You can’t. Although most cloud-based game streaming services run flawlessly on Android, they’re not welcome on iOS and iPadOS. And that’s because Apple’s guidelines which restrict the distribution of third-party games via game streaming services.

Although game streaming is allowed, app developers can’t stream games that are not developed by them. For example, Apple allows Microsoft’s Halo-series games to be streamed from the cloud on the iPhone via the Project xCloud app. Still, the company doesn’t allow games developed by companies other than Microsoft, such as 2K Games, Activision, Blizzard, Konami, or Ubisoft.

On the other hand, Apple Arcade is allowed on an iPhone or an iPad because apps created by third-party developers are downloaded locally. This is especially hurting game streaming services because cloud-based streaming of magazines, music, newspapers, podcast, and video is allowed on the App Store. For example, Spotify can stream music from the cloud to Apple’s smartphones, tablets, and other devices without any problem.

The department of justice has opened an investigation which is in the process of checking whether companies like Apple and Google indulge in anti-competitive behavior. Spotify, Netflix, and Tile have stated in the past that Apple gives preferential treatment to its own apps and services over those from third parties. They have even stopped taking subscription payments from App Store’s built-in payment system and ask users first to use a web browser to pay for their services and then sign into their apps on the iPhone or iPad.

Our Take

Apple is snubbing developers who are interested in allowing their games to be streamed to iPhones and iPads, and they’re not happy about it. It’s a love-hate relationship between Apple and third-party developers. While the iPhone maker hands out billions of dollars each year to developers and allows them opportunities to make money, they are sometimes heavy-handed by the Cupertino-based brand’s unexplainable decisions.

We tend to think that Apple has started giving preferential treatment to its own services like Apple Arcade, Apple Music, Apple TV+, and more as they’re heavily advertised and displayed on the home screen of the App Store and across its operating systems. In contrast, services from third-party developers aren’t allowed to do that. If it wants its ecosystem to remain healthy, Apple needs to change some of its decisions and create a friendly atmosphere.

[Via Bloomberg]