Despite Apple's rule changes, Microsoft says it has no plans to release an Xbox Cloud Gaming app for iOS.

Most of Apple's recently announced changes to the App Store are intended exclusively for iPhone users in the European Union, but there is one exception. Last month, Apple also announced that it was relaxing App Store rules for cloud gaming apps worldwide.

This opens the door for services like Xbox Cloud Gaming to finally release their own app for iPhone and iPad, but judging by Apparently, Microsoft is not interested in this.

Cloud gaming apps on iPhone

Previously, Apple required developers to submit a separate app for each game to the App Store. For example, Microsoft would have to present each game available through Xbox Cloud Gaming as separate apps. Microsoft has repeatedly criticized these requirements and said they are a “bad experience for customers.”

In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said the company remains unhappy with Apple's rule changes. Spencer says there is “no way” for Microsoft to monetize Xbox Cloud Gaming on iOS, and echoes comments made by Sarah Bond, president of Xbox at Microsoft, last month.

Spencer said:

We do not have the ability to monetize Xbox Cloud Gaming on iOS. I think the proposal put forward by Apple – and I think Sarah Bond's comments on this were correct – does not go far enough to open up. In fact, you could even say they're going in the opposite direction in some ways, but they certainly don't go far enough to create competition on the world's largest gaming platform.

We will continue to work with regulators authorities, as well as with Apple and Google to create space for alternative storefronts. I'm a big fan of the way Windows works, and you have the Microsoft Store on Windows, you have Steam, you have the Epic Games Store, you have GOG. You have alternatives, and I think alternative ways of buying things benefit consumers and creators. I think the biggest mobile platform for gamers should have the same.

9to5Mac's Opinion

I don't buy Spencer's arguments, and part of me wonders whether he's confusing Apple's proposed changes to the third-party app market with its separate decision to allow cloud gaming apps on the App Store.

I don't buy Spencer's arguments, and some I wonder if he's confusing Apple's proposed changes to the third-party app market with its separate decision to allow cloud gaming apps to be hosted on the App Store.


Best comment by BTS

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I'm a proponent of having third party app stores on iOS, and I also wanted to have the XBOX Cloud app on my iOS device. But now I see that Microsoft's point of view is not willing to put effort into a very niche market.

I can't play cloud games while I'm flying. I won't waste time playing games on my iPhone if I'm on a bus or other public transport. If I'm at Starbucks, I won't be playing Gears of War… That means I'll be using a laptop, desktop, or console to reach my full gaming potential.

– Also, there is a huge difference between streaming a movie and streaming a game.

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The changes to App Store policies allowing cloud gaming apps apply globally and do not require developers to agree to new business terms. This means Microsoft can offer Xbox Cloud Gaming without paying a controversial new fee for the underlying technology.

Spencer could also simply be referring to Microsoft not wanting to sell Xbox Cloud Gaming subscriptions and in-app games and share its share this income is from Apple. It's a fair argument, but Microsoft won't be forced to sell its in-app content for the same price as it does elsewhere. Allow users to pay regular prices online and charge some in-app purchases a higher price to account for Apple's fees.

I'm also interested in how the end of Home Screen web apps in the European Union will affect the Xbox Cloud Gaming experience. Microsoft currently offers Xbox Cloud Gaming through Safari and encourages users to save games to their iPhone's home screen as a PWA.

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