Apple stands in the way of the greatest games innovation in years

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And with every new game, the app would have to go through a potentially long inspection process. If game streaming becomes somewhat successful, companies may want to add their entire game library to pass through the review. Apple keeps game services small with such a strict policy. It almost seems like a deliberate strategy to take out competitors for Apple Arcade.

Microsoft is critical

While game companies are already doing a lot to pre-approve games. Bodies such as the ESRB and PEGI go through games to provide them with a kind of viewing pointer. This not only shows the minimum age, but also whether there is violence, swearing or other sensitive material.

A spokesperson for Microsoft thinks it is crazy. “Apple is the only one to ban cloud gaming and subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass,” the company said. “They constantly treat gaming apps differently, while less strict rules are applied to other types of apps.”

Facebook is also not satisfied with the policy. The company released its gaming app last week, with which simple games can be played. But all games in the iOS version are missing, because Apple refused to approve them. By still publishing the stripped app, Facebook seems to be publicly protesting against Apple’s policy.

No approval for Netflix

Microsoft’s point about exception treatment makes sense. The App Store is full of streaming services that don’t get their content pre-approved by Apple. Netflix adds hundreds of films and series every year without interference from the tech giant, and the same applies to Dutch video services. In addition, Apple has nothing to say about the range of music services such as Spotify and Tidal.

All those films, series and music differ in one area from games: they are not offered directly in the App Store. The streaming services mean that App Store games suddenly have to compete with major gaming computer hits – while with App Store titles up to 30 percent of the turnover goes to Apple.

Apple has a much stricter policy for game services such as Stadia and Game Pass. And because those imposed rules are so difficult to follow, companies feel compelled to skip the iPhone and iPad. That is a shame, because Apple stands in the way of one of the greatest innovations in the games world. A quarter of smartphones worldwide run on iOS, according to statistics from Statcounter over the past year. A huge number of devices that are not allowed to use this.

Even though we almost live in a world where it no longer matters whether we buy game consoles. In which we play a new FIFA or Call of Duty on the terrace via 5G. In one fell swoop, Apple would lag behind in gaming and entice an ever-increasing group of people to buy an Android phone. This can already be seen within the various communities that responded to the recent news with statements such as “I’ll buy a Pixel phone”. That cannot be the intention.

Bastiaan Vroegop, editor Bright

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