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Microsoft’s xCloud Gaming Services Comes to iOS but Apple is Making the Rules

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
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Microsoft, who has just recently announced a cloud gaming team-up with Samsung, has expanded its Project xCloud gaming service to iPhone as well, but the software colossus has had to abide by some of Apple’s stringent rules, meaning the service may not run or appear as it does on Android.

The beta of xCloud has been launched on iOS through Apple’s TestFlight service – which allows iPhone or iPad users the opportunity to try to test the xCloud service on their devices.

The Verge reports that it is the first time we’ve seen a cloud game streaming service on iOS since the days of the ill-fated OnLive in 2011. OnLive’s iOS app was never approved by Apple, and the service has since been forgotten with the company going defunct in 2012, and being liquidated in 2015.

Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now are likewise unavailable on Apple devices either, with neither company expecting any changes soon.

So Microsoft’s tweaks in order to “comply with App Store policies” might allow for the xCloud service to be the only long-term and successful cloud gaming app iOS has ever supported. However, Apple’s necessary tweaks have affected xCloud’s performance. Microsoft’s Larry Hryb writes, “the preview experience on iOS may look and feel different for those who have been testing on Android.”

Apple’s nebulous policies and Microsoft’s tweaks, which remain unexplained, only allow for a single title to work with iOS devices for testing. Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Though packaged as a single game, the collection is in fact a bundle of all 7 major Halo games, including Halo 1 through 4 and spin-offs. The iOS app is limited to xCloud and does not include Xbox Game Streaming, which allows for games to be streamed straight from your console, similar to Playstation Now.

It remains unclear why Apple continues to restrict cloud gaming services. Google Stadia launched last year with an iOS app that doesn’t support streaming, and Microsoft seems hopeful that the xCloud’s current iOS beta testing will lead to Apple finally approving these types of apps.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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