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Home / Technology / Apple confirms that cloud gaming services such as xCloud and Stadia violate App Store guidelines

Apple confirms that cloud gaming services such as xCloud and Stadia violate App Store guidelines



Starting next month, with the launch of Microsoft’s xCloud service, cloud gaming will occupy an important position on mobile devices, but iOS users have been excluded. Now, we know exactly why: Apple does not allow these products because the strict App Store guidelines make cloud services such as xCloud and its rival Google Stadia practically unable to run on the iPhone.

We already know why Stadia cannot be used on Apple devices, and why Microsoft’s services may face a similar fate, which may be related to the App Store. Yesterday, when Microsoft released its xCloud app on Android on September 1

5th, it interrupted iOS testing on iOS. This seems more likely because the fate of xCloud on iOS was sealed yesterday. Nvidia’s GeForce Now service is similarly only available for Android on mobile phones, even though the platform technically allows you to access titles you already own.

But Apple finally came out, saying in the statement Business insider, These types of cloud services violate the App Store guidelines and exist on iOS in their current form. The main reason: They provide access to apps that Apple cannot review individually.

This is Apple’s official statement:

The App Store was created to provide customers with a safe and reliable place for them to discover and download applications, and to provide excellent business opportunities for all developers. Before they enter our store, all apps will be reviewed according to a set of guidelines designed to protect customers and provide developers with a fair and level playing field.

Our customers can enjoy excellent applications and games provided by millions of developers, and as long as they follow the same set of guidelines that apply to all developers, the game service can be absolutely launched on the App Store, including separate submission of games for review and appearance In the chart and search. In addition to the App Store, developers can also choose to communicate with all iPhone and iPad users through the Internet through Safari and other browsers on the App Store.

As early as March Bloomberg According to the report, when Apple’s potential antitrust issues related to the Arcade game subscription service were questioned, Apple provided very similar reasons. Despite the headaches of competitors, the company is still operating the game.

Image courtesy of Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

In any case, the key point in the statement is “including submitting the game separately for review and appearing in charts and searches.” How Stadia works today and how xCloud works next month is that you pay for access to the service itself, and then The service allows you to pay or access free games from the cloud. Unlike the Apple-approved Valve Steam Link app, these games will not be stored on your local device at home (although Valve’s approval of Steam Link on iOS has its own troubles).

Therefore, Apple doesn’t know what you are going to buy or play on its device, because it cannot view them beforehand. If these services only allow you to access the subscription services you have paid for, it will not see any revenue. This is the key to the last showdown between Apple and the creator of the new email service. It was only resolved when Basecamp compromised with the iPhone manufacturer by adding a free registration option to its iOS app.

Apple clearly stated all of these in the App Store guidelines, especially section 4.2.7:

4.2.7 Remote Desktop Client: If your remote desktop application acts as a mirror of specific software or services, rather than a general mirror of the host device, it must meet the following conditions:

(A) The application must only be connected to a host device owned by the user, which is a personal computer or a dedicated game console owned by the user, and both the host device and the client must be connected to a local and LAN-based network.

(B) Any software or service appearing in the client is fully executed on the host device and presented on the screen of the host device, and must not use APIs or platform functions without the need to stream remote desktops.

(C) All account creation and management must be initiated from the host device.

(D) The UI that appears on the client is not similar to the iOS or App Store view, does not provide a store-like interface, or does not have the function of browsing, selecting or purchasing software that is not yet owned or licensed by the user. For the sake of clarity, if the transaction is processed on the host device, the transaction that occurs within the mirroring software does not need to use in-app purchases.

(E) Thin clients of cloud-based applications are not applicable to the App Store.

In other words, unless it is a complete remote desktop application, cloud gaming services will not be allowed because these guidelines are written today, even for very narrow LAN services (such as Steam Link and Sony PS4 Remote Play) in this way.

Google and Microsoft may not want to provide a registration option in the app itself, because it means reducing Apple’s subscription revenue by 30%, but apps without the “create account” option violate section (c). Considering that these cloud servers running games do not belong to and are located in consumers’ homes, but are located in remote data centers, it is impossible to comply with section (a). Section (e) just finished, this kind of thing-“thin client for cloud-based applications”-will not appear in the App Store at all; Apple said that this is not appropriate.

Here are some solutions. For example, the Shadow cloud gaming service allows you to access a remote computer “host device”, which is not a user’s proprietary technology, but is rented from the company itself. It is also not on the same network as the device that is accessing it. But Shadow can work and is available on iOS today.

The shadow spokesperson told edge That is, when it discovered that its iOS app was controversial with Apple earlier this year, it removed the quick launch feature that allowed users to directly launch into the game. After that, the application was approved because it functions more like a remote desktop service-the “universal mirroring of the host device” mentioned by Apple in its App Store guidelines. With Shadow, you still have to install Steam, log in, and access existing titles just like any other remote desktop application. However, the user of the remote access device is a gaming PC. Shadow rents you a gaming PC every month, which is a wise way to solve these limitations.

Valve canceled the option to purchase games from the iOS version of the app and performed a similar operation to Steam Link, because Apple questioned the fact that Steam Link effectively acts as an app store in the App Store. Passed Apple’s review process.

What does it mean? Well, for now, iOS users will miss the wave of mobile-centric cloud gaming centered on the release of xCloud. As you can imagine, Google, Microsoft and Nvidia can find a solution to this problem by changing the core functions of their respective applications.

But it seems unlikely in the short term. The App Store is a huge market, so lucrative developers have been seeking access to its nearly 1.5 billion users for years. However, in this case, there is a fundamental disconnect between the way these services operate and the way Apple wants the software to run on the iPhone and iPad. It seems that this will not change soon.


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