Microsoft has hit a roadblock in its ambitious game streaming service releasing this September. Project xCloud, which will allow users to play more than 100 games from the cloud on their mobile devices, won’t come to iOS. Microsoft’s impressive games library will expand past Xbox and PC, but not to the iOS App Store.
Initially, Microsoft had planned on bringing Project xCloud to Apple devices. As America’s most popular smartphone brand, Apple represents a substantial portion of the market for mobile gaming. According to the smartphone giant, though, the service violates the iOS App Store’s guidelines.
Why Apple Won’t Allow Cloud Gaming Services
In a statement to Business Insider, Apple elaborated on and defended their choice not to permit Project xCloud. According to the App Store’s guidelines, reviewers have to test and review each game individually. Given the nature of cloud streaming services, it would be impossible for them to verify everything available on the platform.
Microsoft isn’t the first company to run into this issue. Google’s game streaming service, Stadia, isn’t available on the iOS App Store either. While Google’s remained mostly quiet about this roadblock, though, Microsoft spoke out against it.
Microsoft accuses Apple of unfairly treating gaming apps, subjecting them to stricter rules and regulations. Other streaming services, like Netflix and Spotify, also feature mature content, but Apple allows them on the App Store. In defense, Apple says that’s an unfair comparison, as games are interactive while movies and music aren’t.
In their statement, Microsoft also referenced how their games already receive ratings from other agencies. The ESRB and other regional rating boards review all of the games on Project xCloud before they release. Still, Apple remains firm in their decision not to allow game streaming services on the App Store.
The Changing Face of Gaming
Project xCloud is an extension of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, which gave users access to a library of games for a subscription. Unlike Game Pass, though, xCloud won’t require players to download the games they want to play. Instead, they’ll stream the games right from the cloud, like Netflix, but for video games.
Microsoft isn’t alone in this endeavor, either. The previously mentioned Google Stadia and Sony’s PlayStation Now also take gaming to the cloud. This progression may have been inevitable, as cloud applications keep growing in versatility and popularity.
Around 94% of companies use the cloud, and cloud gaming seems to be the future of the industry. With this shift, gamers will be able to play their favorite titles from the comfort and convenience of their phones. Apple may eventually turn around to accept this trend, but for now, it doesn’t look that way.
An Uncertain Future for Game Streaming
Streaming services like Project xCloud could be the next big thing in video games. As long as Apple doesn’t permit them on the iOS App Store, though, they could prevent it from penetrating the mobile market. One side or the other will have to make some compromises for mobile game streaming to take off.
For now, it seems both game companies and Apple stand firm in their positions. When November rolls around, Project xCloud will bring classic Microsoft titles to Android users, but not those with iPhones. At the moment, it’s uncertain if anything will happen beyond that.