EU 'aware' of Xbox Project xCloud iOS block as antitrust case looms
With Apple withholding Microsoft's Project xCloud cloud gaming app from iOS, the European Commission has spoken out.
What you need to know
- The European Commission has stated it's "aware" of recent antitrust concerns raised by Microsoft and Facebook over Apple's App Store policies.
- It follows Apple's recent decision to double down on App Store restrictions, preventing Xbox's Project xCloud cloud gaming services from launching on iOS.
- Microsoft claims that "Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass."
The recent dust-up between Apple and Microsoft over Project xCloud, which saw the iPhone-maker actively withholding the Xbox game-streaming platform, has drawn the attention of the European Union. It comes as Apple enforces restrictive policies on software distributed through its iOS App Store, with concerns raised by Microsoft and Facebook over gaming content.
Microsoft first kicked back at Apple's tight grip on its App Store on Thursday, claiming Cupertino continues to "deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services" on its devices. That follows the company recently ending tests for its Project xCloud cloud gaming tech on iOS over hard limitations stifling its mobile rollout. The Project xCloud for Android release remains on schedule, headed to its Xbox Game Pass app on September 15 for Ultimate-tier subscribers.
The European Commission has now caught wind of both cases, as reported by Reuters. "The Commission is aware of these concerns regarding Apple's App Store rules," said Commission spokeswoman Arianna Podesta. No further details were provided.
Apple has held its ground, raising concern over its inability to regulate the service, mandating that Microsoft lists all Xbox One games individually, with a manual review process for approval. That could also see Apple take up to a 30% cut on subscriptions, due to its mandatory revenue share policy for on-device payments. Facebook also voiced similar concerns over the treatment of Facebook Gaming, axing playable in-app games after multiple rejections from Apple.
Recent comments from Microsoft and Facebook may feed into current EU antitrust investigations challenging Apple and its oversight of its App Store. The European Commission pledged to take a closer look at the marketplace and internal practices in June, including its requirement to use in-house payment systems.
The Commission's comments follow a U.S. antitrust hearing last month, which saw leadership from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google questioned over separate claims of anti-competitive practices.
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Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.
- Subscription is okay although if someone signs up via iOS app, Apple gets a cut
- Individual software (games) can't avoid licensing (agreement, fees, quality controls, etc)... this is what they are trying to get around and no its not okay This policy is basically how all closed platforms work, including Xbox, Game Pass and xCloud. I'm still baffled by Microsoft's problem, Phil Spencer apparently has no idea how licensing works. LOL (embarrassing) "It follows Apple's recent decision to double down on App Store restrictions, preventing Xbox's Project xCloud cloud gaming services from launching on iOS." Also, this is a false statement or taken out of context. Game streaming (or virtualized instance) is not prevented on iOS, the games just have to go through the apple developer process just the same as they would on Xbox. All Microsoft has to do is do what other developers/publishers are doing: 1.) Provide a client to remote play i.e. PS Remote Play/Valve Steam Link etc.... if they choose.
2.) If they want to use a streaming or virtualized instance of a game, that game should be separated app (game) needs to go through the Apple development process i.e. licensing process. An example of this would be Resident Evil 7 on the Nintendo Switch, which is a game streaming version.
2. PS Now not okay as the software(games) are being added and deleted, further the software has no been granted license. Matter of fact, most of the software on these services are not even developed by the company doing the app. The developers can just go through the Apple development process, whether its streaming or not is not material that I can see. This is exactly what Capcom did for RE7 on the Nintendo Switch. "That seems monopolistic to me." All licensing is monopoly, its their way or the highway. Let Microsoft tell me how I put my software on Xbox without licensing. (crickets)
Apparently not. This is precisely what XCloud is. Part of the issue you have here is that these games do not run on Apple, iOS, iPadOS, MacOS. Apple insists on vetting these titles for content, security, etc. That's fine, but on what will Apple do this? I suppose they could evaluate each game running in the XCloud client, but they are really evaluating the client, with different data, much like wanting to evaluating a web browser with every site it could visit.
- PS Remote Play/Valve Steam Play/other remote software okay
- Not okay.... PS Now, Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud, etc.... developer avoiding Apple licensing There is nothing new about any of this. Apple hasn't said they won't allow game streaming because they already do, they haven't said they won't allow subscriptions they already do.... the problem is the developers are trying to get around licensing. I actually think the xCloud app would be in violation of Microsoft's own Store licensing. LOL
tldr; they're not prohibited. Although 10.13.3 might be prove publishing competitor streaming platforms to xbox somewhat tricky.
Your app may promote or distribute software only through the Microsoft Store. 10.13.10
Products that emulate a game system are not allowed on any device family. This one is kind of funny because probably the majority of the games on Xbox do this. LOL
11.6 Alcohol, Tobacco, Weapons and Drugs
Your product must not contain any content that facilitates or glamorizes excessive or irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco products, drugs, or weapons. My guess is this probably wouldn't work either, but I haven't used the app.
Products should support the devices and platforms on which they are downloaded, including compatibility with the software, hardware and screen resolution requirements specified by the product. If a product is downloaded on a device with which it is not compatible, it should detect that at launch and display a message to the customer detailing the requirements.