Will Game Streaming Apps Finally Launch on the Apple App Store?

app store

Apple relaxes App Store rules and opens the floodgates for game streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming onto iOS.

For years, major game streaming services like Xbox Game Pass, GeForce Now, and PlayStation Plus have been unable to launch dedicated apps on the Apple App Store.

That may finally change soon.

As part of major revisions to App Store policies to comply with new EU regulations (Digital Markets Act), Apple has announced that game-streaming apps will now be accepted.

This opens the door for these major gaming subscription platforms to have iOS and iPadOS apps for the first time.

Why Were Game Streaming Apps Blocked Before?

In the past, Apple’s restrictive policies prevented game streaming apps and mini-game apps from launching.

These rules required each streamed game to be submitted as a standalone app, subject to individual review.

Each individual game offered would need separate App Store approval and listing.

Apple would also take a 30% cut of revenues.

This made it unfeasible for platforms like Xbox Game Pass with hundreds of titles.

As a workaround, they offered streaming via mobile web browsers.

But the experience was far from ideal.

But now developers can submit a single app supporting full cloud gaming libraries.

What Changed to Allow Game Streaming Apps?

Under the new rules, developers can submit a single app with streaming for all games in their catalog.

The same applies to apps with mini-games, bots, and plugins.

Apple will apply this globally, not just in Europe.

However, streamed content still must follow App Store guidelines.

If one game is 18+, the whole streaming app may be getting an age rating.

Apple will also facilitate in-app purchases for DLCs and microtransactions, taking their standard 30% cut.

The comprehensive changes will arrive in March as part of Apple’s iOS 17.4 operating system.

What Are The Other Major Changes in Apple Policy

Apple announced major changes to its iOS software and App Store policies for the EU market to comply with new antitrust regulations.

Key features include:

  • iOS 17.4 will allow downloading apps from third-party stores outside the App Store for the first time. This ends Apple’s requirement that all iOS apps must come from its proprietary App Store.
  • Users will be able to set default apps for web browsing, payments, and other functions, breaking Apple’s previous restrictions.
  • Developers can use third-party payment systems instead of Apple’s in-app purchase system, avoiding Apple’s commission.
  • Game streaming and other apps can now include mini-apps and games within them, enabling services like Xbox Cloud Gaming.
  • Apple will charge new fees – a 3% processing fee for using its payment system, and a €0.50 fee per million app installs.
  • A game developer can create their own app stores and web browsers for downloading their game like the Epic Game store announced just after the policy change.

Looking Ahead

The opening of the App Store to game streaming is long overdue.

While limitations persist, it provides more choice and a better experience for mobile gamers.

We may soon see Xbox Cloud Gaming, GeForce Now, and PS Plus apps on iPhone and iPad.

Overall these changes show Apple responding to EU regulations and competitive pressure.

But the walled garden of iOS still stands tall.

Game streaming services will likely have to play by Apple’s rules to reach those users.

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