Apple changes App Store rules to allow streaming game services, outside subscription apps – CNET


Game streaming will likely soon land on the App Store.

Patrick Holland/CNET

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple’s changing its App Store rules to allow game streaming services such as Sony’s PlayStation Now, Microsoft’s Xbox xCloud, Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now. The move marks the company’s acknowledgement of the changing ways some people are playing video games.

Apple said the new moves will allow streaming game purveyors to publish apps with catalogs of their games, but the tech giant is also requiring they submit an app for each individual game for review and publication as well. As a result, people who want to use a game streaming service would find its associated app on Apple’s app store with reviews and ratings like every other app. When they open the app, it would likely then connect to the streaming service and begin playing the game.

“Games offered in a streaming game service subscription must be downloaded directly from the App Store, must be designed to avoid duplicate payment by a subscriber, and should not disadvantage non-subscriber customers,” Apple said in its new guidelines.

Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines, which its employees use to decide whether programs submitted to the App Store meet the company’s criteria around safety, usability and monetization, previously didn’t allow game streaming services.

The company’s moves mark its latest acknowledgement of the way people are rapidly shifting the way they interact with entertainment. Several years ago, game subscriptions were a small part of the industry, offered by few companies. But as back catalogs have grown, game makers say they’ve realized an opportunity to help people access older games in new ways.

In some cases, that’s led to subscriptions like Microsoft’s Xbox Games Pass, a $9.99 per month service with more than 100 titles gamers can download and play. These new subscription services have also helped power streaming game providers like Sony’s $9.99 per month PlayStation Now, which has grown to more than 800 titles in the six years it’s been available. Microsoft as well says it plans to make a new streaming service, previously known as project xCloud, available to its highest paying subscribers by the end of the year.

The iPhone maker’s new rules go into effect just before the company’s expected to release its iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 software for its iPhones and iPads. The company’s also expected to announce a new set of iPhones sometime in the coming weeks, featuring a new design and promising superfast 5G wireless speeds.

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