Apple’s Surprise Cloud Gaming Reversal – Is Apple Arcade+ Streaming Next?


Last week brought some surprising news from Apple.

The company announced changes to App Store policies and iOS features specifically for EU customers.

These updates aim to comply with the new Digital Markets Act regulatory requirements.

However, Apple also revealed a global policy shift – ending its ban on cloud gaming apps like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now.

This sudden reversal after years of blocking these services deserves a closer look.

Does it signal a strategic move for Apple’s own Arcade service?

Why Unblock Cloud Gaming Now?

Apple provided no context on its reasoning behind allowing cloud gaming apps.

We can only speculate on the motivations.

It seems unlikely to be preemptively appeasing EU regulators or the looming Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit.

There’s also the possibility that Apple has simply decided to embrace the technology rather than fight it.

Perhaps Apple simply recognized its unpopular stance against streaming games was ultimately futile.

Continuing to block major players like Microsoft and Nvidia could damage Apple’s reputation without providing meaningful benefits.

Could Arcade Go Cloud?

The optimistic view is that Apple is clearing the path for its own Arcade service to transition to game streaming.

Allowing Xbox, Nvidia, and other cloud gaming apps first gives users a taste before Apple dips its toes in too.

Cloud gaming would provide some real advantages for Arcade.

Users could instantly try games without downloads or storage management.

Though Arcade doesn’t take heavy MBs to download but freeing up some phone space is always welcome by users.

Cloud gaming enables quick sampling to find what you like.

Streaming also opens the door for more advanced titles.

Phone hardware constraints won’t limit the games supported through cloud processing power.

Arcade+ with Exclusive Streaming Games?

Apple already increased the Arcade subscription price to $6.99 per month citing the much larger catalog.

Perhaps the next step is the rumored “Apple Arcade+” with streaming and more exclusive content.

Cloud infrastructure and newer titles justify the premium.

Apple could even fund exclusive streaming games to make Arcade+ a must-have for accessing groundbreaking iOS/tvOS gameplay not otherwise available.

Recurring subscription revenue is something Apple loves.

Adding cloud gaming capabilities and newer titles could sweeten the deal for potential subscribers.

Concerns and Challenges

Before getting too excited, potential pitfalls exist.

Of course, there are reasons Apple might not take Arcade the streaming route.

Apple uses intensive iOS games to showcase its cutting-edge hardware performance.

Streaming somewhat undercuts that advantage.

There are also technical challenges like latency and stability in streaming.

Apple would need to nail the user experience.

Closing Thoughts

While the timing is interesting, it’s too early to say if Apple has plans to evolve Apple Arcade into a streaming product.

I’d love to see Apple Arcade+ with exclusive cloud-streamed games.

Time will tell whether Apple seizes this opportunity or simply wants to remove an unpopular restriction.

Cloud gaming on iOS opens new doors either way.

Players gain choices while developers reach expanded markets.

Hopefully, Apple’s policy shift spurs broader access to innovative game experiences.

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