Apple Is Prohibiting Cloud-Based Gaming Services From the App Store Because It Cannot Review or Approve Each Game

Ben Gilbert, Business Insider:

This September, Microsoft plans to launch a major coup in the video game business: The world’s first game streaming service with a built-in library, Netflix-style.

For $15 a month, you’ll be able to stream over 100 games to smartphones and tablets — but it won’t be available on Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone and iPad.


“Our customers enjoy great apps and games from millions of developers, and gaming services can absolutely launch on the App Store as long as they follow the same set of guidelines applicable to all developers, including submitting games individually for review, and appearing in charts and search,” Apple said in a statement to Business Insider. “In addition to the App Store, developers can choose to reach all iPhone and iPad users over the web through Safari and other browsers on the App Store.”

A similar service offered by Google, named Google Stadia, has also run into roadblocks with Apple’s App Store guidelines. It’s available on Android phones and tablets, but not Apple devices.

The App Store guidelines also prohibit “displaying third-party apps, extensions, or plug-ins similar to the App Store” and apps that “create alternate desktop/home screen environments”. Even if Microsoft or Google went through the trouble of submitting each game individually, it is very possible that their library app would not be permitted either — the Stadia launcher may be seen differently from a “player” or “reader” app.

Any way you cut it, this is not a great look just a week after Tim Cook testified before a U.S. government committee on allegations of antitrust behaviour.