Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service will not come to iOS: Here’s why


There have been instances of developers complaining about Apple’s restrictive policies for its App Store, and now, Microsoft has announced that its game streaming service, xCloud, will not be coming to the iOS or iPadOS platform after the beta Testflight period ends.

Project xCloud is a service planned by Microsoft as part of its Xbox Game Pass. It would allow users to pay about $15 a month for access to download and install any one of the 100 games onto their Xbox or PC. Users will be able to stream and play the game from any device like an Android tablet or smartphone.

Microsoft did release a Testflight beta version of the app on iOS, but soon realised that Apple’s guidelines would make it near impossible to have the service available on iOS. One of the App Store’s rules required games in a game subscription to be owned or licensed by the developer.

This meant only “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” was available on the Testflight app. Another issue was that ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ users testing the feature could only stream games from the cloud and not from an Xbox console, eliminating the pick up and play on any device option.

These restrictive policies have not only blocked Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service, but even Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now. In a statement, Microsoft said:

Our testing period for the Project xCloud Preview app for iOS has expired. Unfortunately, we do not have a path to bring our vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS via the Apple ‌App Store‌. Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass. And it consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content. All games available in the Xbox Game Pass catalog are rated for content by independent industry ratings bodies such as the ESRB and regional equivalents. We are committed to finding a path to bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to the iOS platform. We believe that the customer should be at the heart of the gaming experience and gamers tell us they want to play, connect, and share anywhere, no matter where they are. We agree.