Cloud gaming apps are finally coming to iOS

Ben Schoon

Cloud gaming apps are finally allowed on the iOS App Store (just a year too late for Stadia)

The appeal of cloud gaming has always been the ability to run extremely high-quality games without needing the hardware to back it up. But, the tough part of getting people to use it has always been distribution, and one particular headache was the iOS App Store, which barred cloud gaming services for ridiculous reasons. Now, though, Apple is finally changing that.

Cloud gaming services are generally available through native apps and/or a web app. There are sometimes advantages to a native app, such as increased resolution and additional settings in the case of Nvidia’s GeForce Now, but native apps haven’t been available for cloud gaming services on iOS for the longest time.

As was reported back in 2020, Apple had barred cloud gaming services such as Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, Nvidia’s GeForce Now, and Google Stadia from offering native iOS apps in the App Store.


Apple took issue with these services offering more than one game in their store listings, as games couldn’t be reviewed individually by Apple. Microsoft, among others, took issue with Apple’s reasoning, with Microsoft pointing out at the time that Apple “consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content.”

But, now that’s all changing. Among other changes to the App Store influenced by new EU rules, Apple also announced that, globally, cloud gaming apps are now allowed on the App Store for iOS. 9to5Mac points out that cloud gaming apps still have to adhere to Apple’s policy around gaming apps, but the apps themselves can now, finally, exist.

Apple explains in a developer blog post:

Today, Apple is introducing new options for how apps globally can deliver in-app experiences to users, including streaming games and mini-programs. Developers can now submit a single app with the capability to stream all of the games offered in their catalog.

Each experience made available in an app on the App Store will be required to adhere to all App Store Review Guidelines and its host app will need to maintain an age rating of the highest age-rated content included in the app.

Microsoft, Nvidia, and other cloud gaming providers have yet to announce plans for native iOS apps, but we’d imagine more will be announced in the months to come.

One service that won’t ever get to run through a native app on iOS is Google’s Stadia, which shut down almost exactly a year ago. The service was available on iOS via a web app just like everyone else, and actually managed to deliver a really good experience through that, even though it didn’t show up for a year after the service’s launch. Would native app streaming on iOS have changed anything for Stadia? Probably not, but it’s a shame Google never got the chance.

Source: 9to5Google

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