Come on, Apple — Let Us Stream Xbox Games

Happy Monday, everyone!

I hate to throw so much Apple content on the page this week but there was a new development in the Xbox Game Pass on iPhone saga that I wanted to talk about. The day before the Time Flies Apple event seemed like the perfect time.

Last week Apple updated their App Store guidelines as it pertains to game streaming services. The truth is that it’s a start — but it’s not a good one.

Per the new guidelines from Apple, services like Xbox Game Pass can exist on the iPhone but they have to follow all the usual gaming guidelines. Furthermore, each game must be uploaded as its own app and each update has to be submitted for review. That’s bullshit, for lack of a batter phrase. We’re talking about a game streaming service. Streaming. You know, like Netflix?

A great summary of the situation so far!

Netflix isn’t required to upload every show and movie they stream onto the iTunes Store, nor is Hulu, or Disney+, or Tubi, or Pluto TV, or any other streaming app. The same goes for music streaming apps. The fact that games are explicitly being treated differently like this is wrong on a number of levels.

While I do think a lot of this debate still has to do with the fact that Microsoft has policies in place that will block BootCamp from existing on Macs that run Apple’s own processors, it’s getting hard and harder to look past the argument that Apple may actually see Game Pass as an Apple Arcade competitor, even though they’re two vastly different products.

Looking past the fact that I highly doubt that AAA developers who have their games on these streaming services are going to be willing to submit every patch to Apple (and integrate all of iOS’s gaming related features), there’s an even bigger issue. Xbox Game Pass isn’t the only service that would be effected by this. There’s also GeForce Now…and let’s not forget Google Stadia. Let’s assume that all three of those services get Grand Theft Auto V next month. Under these rules, all three services would have to submit the game to the App Store. Then, who handles the updates? Does Rockstar send a single update to Apple for approval on all three versions of the game? Or does the App Store review team have to invest the time and energy to manually review three versions of the same update?

For a company that likes to keep things simple and embrace the “it just works” mentality, they’re really making getting game streaming apps onto the App Store a lot more trouble than its worth. Something tells me as we see the Apple vs Epic legal battle continue, we’re also going to be watching this saga play out in the weeks (or months) to come.

In the meantime, if you’d like to better understand how I can simultaneously love a company like Apple and openly disagree with decisions they make (like this one), I invite you to check out this post on my second blog. I’ll be back here tomorrow with my take on the Apple event and then going forward any non-gaming related technology blog posts will be at that other page. You can always find a link to it in the navigation bar up above!

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