Microsoft’s xCloud recently exited its testing phase and is now available to Android users with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, but the service isn’t available to iOS users at all. This followed an abruptly cut short test on iOS that only included one game as opposed to the several options Android users had. But this isn’t just Microsoft showing preference toward one ecosystem. Instead, it has to do with Apple’s policies.
Why xCloud Isn’t On iOS
Previously, Apple had extremely restrictive policies on the App Store that essentially barred game-streaming services from appearing at all, which is why Google Stadia has also not been available on iOS since its launch. However, it recently updated its policies to explicitly permit game-streaming services to operate via the App Store.
So, all is good now, right? Not quite. The issue is that these services will need to have separate apps for each individual game purchased in order to comply with Apple’s 30% profit-splitting policy. It’s a similar issue to what we’ve seen with Epic Games and Fortnite, as Epic wished to circumvent the App store for microtransactions and sell these items directly to players.