On Wednesday, Microsoft confirmed that the xCloud TestFlight program, started early 2020, was ended on iOS and the game streaming service will not be available to iPhone and iPad via the Apple App Store users because of Apple’s App Store policies that “deny customers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass” according to the statement of a Microsoft spokesperson.
BREAKING: Microsoft is *not happy* about its xCloud app being kept from Apple’s App Store: pic.twitter.com/yZ7OYXz8XL— Ian Sherr (@iansherr) August 7, 2020
xCloud is a Microsoft Xbox project allowing mobile users to play Xbox games via cloud on smartphones and tablets. The “Netflix for apps” project will be the first game streaming service with a built-in library.
However, according to the Apple’s App Store policies, each game must be downloaded directly from the App Store (3.1.2(a) in the guideline) and cloud-based gaming services like Google Stadia, xCloud, and Nvidia GeForce cannot be hosted on the App Store. Because Microsoft isn’t submitting each game on its streaming service to Apple’s review process, Apple doesn’t allow the service.
An Apple spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider:
“The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers. Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers.”
As AppleInsider reported in March 2020, gaming services also can’t offer any third-party games — which would limit the number of titles available on platforms like Google Stadia or Microsoft xCloud.
The free xCloud preview will be ended on September and xCloud will be launched on September 15 with more than 100 games, including Destiny 2, Gears of War 5, Minecraft Dungeons, and Halo 5. It will be exclusive to Android users in 22 countries, priced at $14.99 per month.
Microsoft has also partnered with Samsung to create a special version of the Xbox Game Pass app for the Galaxy Store.