Apple overhauled its App Store guidelines on Friday to allow for game streaming services that had previously been denied—but the rules are still restrictive and it’s unclear if major players, such as Microsoft and Google, will be keen to follow them.
Game streaming services Google Stadia, Facebook Gaming, Nvidia’s GeForce Now and Microsoft’s xCloud don’t offer gameplay on iOS because of Apple’s policies limiting cloud streaming and third-party titles.
On Friday, Apple adjusted its rules to allow for these services to operate on iOS, but each game needs to be a separate app available on the App Store subject to Apple’s review process.
Under the rules, game streaming services are allowed to have a main “catalogue app” that links out to individual games and allows users to sign up for the service, but games can’t be played directly inside the app like Android allows.
Apple did not change its policies about App Store fees, meaning that Apple will still take its usual cut of any subscription sign ups, game downloads or in-app purchases, which remains a major sticking point for the games industry.
It’s unclear if gaming services launch on Apple devices, or if they will continue to skip out on iOS altogether. Both Google and Nvidia declined to comment about their plans for iOS. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
A Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC the changes are “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,” the spokesperson said.
Apple’s conflict with the gaming industry extends beyond streaming. Fortnite maker Epic Games is embroiled in a tense legal battle with the tech giant over its App Store fees. Epic argues that Apple’s 30% commission from in-app purchases is anti-competitive and forces companies to increase prices to cover the cost of the so-called “Apple Tax.” Apple, meanwhile, countersued Epic this week and said the company “simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store.”
In Friday’s update, Apple also slightly loosened some rules for in-app purchases outside of gaming. One-on-one digital classes, like tutors or fitness classes, won’t be subject to the 30% fee. Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.
I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. I’ve previously reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org