Apple revises App Store guidelines to allow game streaming apps, but with caveats

Today, Apple published some revisions to its App Store review guidelines, something that it obviously does from time to time. There are some notable changes in there, which isn't surprising because by nature, a change is caused by something that's already happening.

Probably the most notable is that game from subscription game services can now be offered, but with caveats. You might recall that Google's Stadia, Microsoft's xCloud, and Nvidia's GeForce Now are all unavailable on iOS because Apple claimed it wouldn't be able to review the games being offered. Well, now it still will, because the rule Apple is proposing is that each game will have to be offered individually through the App Store, and they will each need to be reviewed individually.

Game-streaming providers can still offer catalog apps, but they'll have to link to the individual games in the App Store. Moreover, they'll have to allow users to sign up for the service in the app, meaning that Apple gets a 30% cut, and they'll have to support Sign in with Apple.

Of the three companies mentioned above, none of them have committed to restructuring their service in an effort to fit Apple's new guidelines, so it's unlikely that these changes are a result of negotiations. It's more likely that this is an example of Apple hoping that developers will bend to its will, as they always have since the birth of the App Store in 2008.

It's a tough time for Apple, with Fortnite developer Epic Games standing up to its practices. Notably, when Epic Games stopped playing by Apple's rules, it threatened to shut off access for anyone that used Sign in with Apple, so developers may be hesitant to use a sign-in option that can be used as leverage.

Obviously, that's not the only App Store change that was made today. Person-to-person transactions no longer have to use the in-app purchase model, which is another thing that gives users just a tiny bit more freedom. You can find the full App Store guidelines here.

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