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Apple refuses to allow Microsoft's Project xCloud gaming service on iOS devices

By Kenneth Ang - on 11 Aug 2020, 11:00am

Apple refuses to allow Microsoft's Project xCloud gaming service on iOS

Image: Unsplash

It's clear as day; Apple isn't a fan of having cloud gaming services like Google Stadia and Project xCloud on the iOS platform, and it would seem Microsoft isn't too happy about their stand, with the latter calling  Apple out for its overly stringent restrictions and preferential treatment of non-gaming apps. After all, it's a move that seems both illogical and counterproductive - why would a company, especially a B2C (business-to-consumer) one like Apple toss aside the chance to expand its customer profile by refusing to cooperate with Microsoft?

But when you dig deeper, Apple's justification does make sense if you're in their shoes. Apparently, the main reason that they've refused to allow any sort of cloud gaming service onto the iOS platform is because the company is unable to review and classify all the games that come with said services, which means they essentially have no idea what their users are paying for (or playing). Accordingly, they've opted for the safer alternative, which is understandable. 

However, Microsoft does have points of its own too. They've pointed out that if Apple is concerned with ratings and user safety guidelines, they could refer to the ESRB ratings for the games supported by Project xCloud (and by extension the Xbox Game Pass too), and that's a good point because it's a lot less tedious to look through a hundred ratings than it is to actually review them yourself. Plus, it's not like the ESRB is an unaccredited body, either.

Still, I can't help but feel the other point Microsoft brought up was tinged with a little too much salt.

Apparently, the company claims that Apple is giving preferential treatment to non-gaming apps - they've mentioned that they don't allow cloud gaming onto the iOS platform, and yet give such applications free rein to work with their own interactive content. In simple terms, Microsoft is upset that Apple's refusal to work with the Xbox Game Pass is messing with their endgame plan for the subscription, which is to provide as wide a network of games for their players as possible. 

On my end, it just feels like Microsoft is expressing its displeasure in a way that seems like a child's temper tantrum. Don't get us wrong; it's fair game to be upset if some people don't want to play ball, but in Apple's defense, the iOS platform is theirs after all, and they have every right to say no if they feel it doesn't gel with their own game plan. Anyway, the long and short of this whole saga is that we probably won't be seeing the Xbox Game Pass on iOS devices any time soon, if ever.