(Pocket-lint) - Apple has changed its App Store rules, impacting how iOS users' will experience cloud-based game streaming services from their iPhone and iPad.
Apple told CNBC that game streaming services, such as Microsoft’s xCloud or Google Stadia, are now allowed, but each streamable game must also be downloadable “directly from the App Store" and every update to those games must be submitted to Apple before it can ever be streamed to iOS users.
In other words, Microsoft and Google can't create apps for their game streaming services that offer unfettered access to streamable games not approved by Apple. And any companies planning to make their games available through xCloud and Stadiamust make them available as individual downloads on the App Store.
However, as The Verge noted, studios won’t need to create full downloads of their games that run locally on iPhone or iPad, as they can create "clients and hybrid streaming apps" instead. Meanwhile, cloud gaming providers like Microsoft and Google can build apps that collect and link out to each of those apps.
All games or streaming apps will need to comply with Apple’s usual App Store rules, of course, including its controversial 30 per cent cut.
Google has yet to comment on the new App Store rules, though Microsoft has issued the following statement:
"This remains a bad experience for customers. 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."
Below is Apple’s revised rules for streaming games:
4.9 Streaming games
Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.
4.9.1 Each streaming game must be submitted to the App Store as an individual app so that it has an App Store product page, appears in charts and search, has user ratings and review, can be managed with ScreenTime and other parental control apps, appears on the user’s device, etc.
4.9.2 Streaming game services may offer a catalog app on the App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games on the App Store, provided that the app adheres to all guidelines, including offering users the option to pay for a subscription with in-app purchase and use Sign in with Apple. All the games included in the catalog app must link to an individual App Store product page.
You can also view Apple’s App Store guidelines changelog here.