Microsoft started testing its xCloud gaming platform on iOS in February, but things have been complicated since then. The company announced today that it’s ending tests with xCloud on Apple’s mobile operating system due to strict App Store policies.


Update: An Apple spokesperson told Business Insider that the reason xCloud and other gaming platforms are not allowed on the App Store is because the company can’t review every single game included in those apps.

The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers. Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers.

Update 2: Microsoft dropped character and came out swinging this time::

Our testing period for the Project xCloud Preview app for iOS has expired. Unfortunately, we do not have a path to bring our vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS via the Apple ‌App Store‌. Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass. And it consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content. All games available in the Xbox Game Pass catalog are rated for content by independent industry ratings bodies such as the ESRB and regional equivalents. We are committed to finding a path to bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to the iOS platform. We believe that the customer should be at the heart of the gaming experience and gamers tell us they want to play, connect, and share anywhere, no matter where they are. We agree.

Apple argues that unlike movies and music, games are interactive and they must be reviewed by the App Store team before they reach iPhone and iPad users. That means the company will not change its policies to allow xCloud and other gaming platforms on the App Store.

You can read the original article below.


The xCloud Project allows users to play Xbox games anywhere via streaming with a high-speed internet connection. xCloud was being tested on Android since last year, and Microsoft released a preview version for iOS earlier this year for about 10,000 registered testers.

To comply with Apple’s TestFlight rules, Microsoft has limited xCloud testing on iOS to just one game, “Halo: The Master Chief Collection.” However, the company told The Verge that the project is being shut down on iOS due to strict App Store policies.

Microsoft hasn’t provided details about these App Store policies, but they’re probably referring to the fact that Apple rejects any app that offers its own catalog of apps or games within the App Store. In the meantime, xCloud will be available to Android users starting September 15.

Our Project xCloud preview TestFlight period has ended on iOS and we are focused on delivering cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to Android customers beginning September 15.

Unfortunately, Apple is unlikely to approve Microsoft’s xCloud on the App Store, as the company has prevented other similar apps from being released for iOS. Last week, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney criticized the company for anti-competitive practices after having Epic Games Store rejected on Apple’s platform.

The Steam Link app for iOS and tvOS was only approved on the App Store after a year, and only because its players can access their library of games while connected to their host Mac without a completely independent solution like xCloud.

While Apple tries to promote the iPhone, iPad, and even Apple TV as gaming devices with the Apple Arcade, these App Store restrictions certainly affect users. In contrast to Apple, Samsung announced today its new Galaxy lineup with a special version of the Xbox Game Pass app built-in with the xCloud service.

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