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Microsoft may not bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to iOS because there is 'no room for monetization'

Users playing Xbox games on Apple tablets using Xbox Cloud gaming

While Apple's recent changes to the App Store would seem to clear the way for cloud gaming services like Xbox Game Pass to come to iOS, Microsoft says that won't be happening just yet. Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, told The Verge that Apple's implementation does not leave room for Cloud Gaming to be properly monetized on iPhones and iPads.

When Apple announced last month that cloud gaming services could be offered through web apps rather than being banned outright, it seemed like a step in the right direction. Microsoft tried this approach with Game Pass, but the lack of in-app subscriptions, purchases, and other monetization options made it difficult to recoup costs. The company believes the limitations remain.

Spencer criticized the way Apple has opened up the iOS platform, saying the company has not gone far enough in allowing third-party options. He wants the mobile gaming experience to mirror PC, where gamers can purchase titles from various stores like Steam, Epic Games, and Microsoft Store.

There's not room for us to monetize Xbox Cloud Gaming on iOS. I think the proposal that Apple put forward — and I thought Sarah Bond's comments on this were right on — doesn't go far enough to open up. In fact, you might even say they go the opposite direction in some way, but they definitely don't go far enough to open up competition on the world's largest gaming platform.

Based on how Cloud Gaming functions on Android, there would be no in-app purchases or subscriptions on iOS either. Users can only sign up for Game Pass Ultimate to access the cloud games library. Apple's new App Store rules do not enable Game Pass or other services to offer this functionality smoothly to iOS users.

This perhaps explains why Microsoft hesitates to bring an official Xbox Cloud Gaming app despite the rule change supposedly allowing cloud gaming.

Apple also requires a 30% cut from all transactions on third-party stores in the EU to comply with the Digital Markets Act, which developers like Spotify and Epic have slammed as anti-competitive.

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