Apple TV App for Xbox is being Developed

Posted on October 1, 2020 by Brad Sams in Games, Xbox with 17 Comments

Image Credit: @Tzunami_Sapp on Twitter

In a relationship that could only be defined as awkward, Microsoft and Apple have been working together to bring an Apple TV app to the Xbox console. The first evidence of this work has surfaced on Twitter and the arrival of the app should be sooner, rather than later, as long as plans do not change.

But to say things are a bit awkward here is a mild understatement. Apple wants to put its Apple TV app on Xbox which is effectively a micro-store/service and Microsoft wants to bring its Cloud Gaming service to iOS but Apple is currently blocking that effort.

So why should Microsoft let Apple put its TV app on Xbox if Apple will not let Xbox put the app it wants on iOS? That’s a good question but potentially this is a chip Microsoft can use to bargain with Apple to make xCloud on iOS a reality.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft and Apple have worked together, Apple put iTunes into the Microsoft Store several years ago. This was a big win, at the time, for Microsoft who was trying to promote its store as the best place to download an app for Windows but that dream has slowly dissolved in the following years.

The other interesting scenario is bringing xCloud to the Apple TV. Apple has its own gaming service and you can play games on the Apple TV from Apple but being able to use xCloud on any Apple TV would be a big win for Microsoft as that opens the door to additional customers for its Game Pass subscription service.

How this all will shake out at the end of the day is not known yet but hopefully, these two companies can find a way to bring all services to both platforms as that’s the win consumers really want.


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Comments (17)

17 responses to “Apple TV App for Xbox is being Developed”

  1. murray judy

    I think this is a good move. It's consistent with the "open" approach that MS has taken. If it helps MS get xCloud on Apple TV, great. If it doesn't, it becomes one more piece of evidence that Apple is a monopoly that doesn't play well with others.

  2. ghostrider

    It's getting tight in the subscription streaming world now - lots of players, and it seems there's a growing sense that people just cannot (and will not) subscribe to them all. It's getting expensive, and you only have so many hours in the day anyway. AppleTV+ and Disney+ are actually both pretty light on content, so it will be interesting to see if they can ride this one out in the long run. Disney are losing millions on their theme parks due to the pandemic, and with most staying away from cinema's, there's no money coming in from that either.

  3. IanYates82

    Another point of difference between xbox and the apple app store is that xbox apps are welcome to advertise to the user that they can open a browser link and sign up for a service. It's encouraged in several games and used for convenient sign-in for things like Netflix and prime video.

    Apple's rules prohibit this. Relaxing that, so users have a choice to skip past the app store for payment and do their own thing, would resolve a lot of Apple's problems

  4. truerock2

    My family uses Rokus (plural of Roku?), Windows 10 PCs, Blu-ray disc players, Apple iPhones, Apple iPads and a Comcast Xfinity CATV boxes to access proprietary entertainment.

    We have Comcast CATV internet - 150mbps/10 mbps.

    We have subscriptions to Xfinity, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Disney+ and a few others that no one in my family has told me about (like Acorn, BBC channel 4, some sports channels, etc).

    Obviously if you have a medium sized to large family with a lot of different things they want to watch, the situation becomes very complicated.

    So, if someone is outdoors in our outdoor patio... they must use a Roku to get media if they want to use a large screen as opposed to their iPad (perhaps).

    We tend to pay for things like HBO, Showtime, ESPN, etc, etc via Xfinity. So, again if you are outdoors away from our house and you want to watch something like HBO you use Xfinity Stream on the Roku or HBO Max (previously HBO GO) on your iPhone or iPad (which is included with your Xfinity account).

    So, it gets a little weird when you start watching Apple TV+ on the Rokus and I have to keep reminding family that we do NOT have HBO on Apple TV+... we have HBO via HBO Max (or Xfinity or whatever...).

    It really is getting insane and I know it is going to get more complicated.

    Thankfully, for whatever reason, my family only plays games on Windows 10 and we do not have any game consoles (other than some old ones that no one uses anymore). It we had game consoles I don't think we could keep up with everything. Everyone has a Steam account (the accounts get shared between Windows 10 PCs). And generally a Good Old Games account. And some other accounts. If a game comes out that only runs on a proprietary game console - it just doesn't get purchased by anyone in our family (oh, maybe a few iOS games).

    Really, the situation is completely out of control.

    And.. Oh... the big issue in the family now is most of us won't give up on Xfinity CATV boxes because they have the best fast-forwarding. Fast-forwarding, fast-rewind, pause, record, etc pretty much sucks on a Roku or any streaming device.

  5. waethorn

    So, here's a quirky scenario:

    Microsoft offers M365 through the Mac App Store. Does the Mac App Store have the same requirements for in-app billing to be provided by Apple that iOS does?

    Microsoft doesn't require apps in the Windows Store to use their billing system for in-app billing, is that correct? Or is it correct for only UWP apps?

    Does tvOS have the exact same rules about in-app billing as iOS too?

    If Apple decides to block xCloud, Microsoft could easily turn around and change their policy for in-app billing to match Apple's business model which would hurt their iTunes and iCloud profit margins. If Apple decides to separate the billing policies for tvOS and iOS then we could see xCloud on Apple TV STB's.

  6. waethorn

    So will this have the non-Apple programming? I could see a lot of overlap if that's the case.

    Apple putting their original programming on more platforms makes sense, but it won't cut into sales of the Apple TV STB either since that device will still have Apple Music, Photos, Arcade, AirPlay support, and other streaming apps that may not be available on other STB's or game consoles.

  7. mattbg

    Fact is, they need to do this because streaming services are a hard sell if you can only watch them on half the TVs in your house.

    Apple has come a long way. I used to only be able to watch Apple TV+ on my Apple TV. Over the past couple of years, my LG and Sony TVs have picked up some kind of support (whether via AirPlay 2 or an Apple TV app), and the Roku has it as well, so that's nearly full coverage for me.

  8. bkkcanuck

    I have not seen the details of it - so I am not sure exactly what this entails. If it is the Apple TV app from the macOS etc. (not the Apple TV platform - which is a different CPU architecture) - it is basically Apple TV+ (channel) and the ability maybe to rent or buy a movie... for which I expect that Microsoft will end up charging the same as Apple does.... 30%.... (of the subscription through there or of microtransactions (i.e. rentals)). I highly doubt this includes games which are independent items installed on the different OSs.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to bkkcanuck: Yea but. The Apple TV+ channel on Apple TV is how I access CBS All Access and Showtime, as well as Apple offerings. That was via a bundle Apple was selling with those two sources at the same price of just All Access. They may do more of that in the future.

  9. Jester

    Apple TV app seems to be coming to PlayStation also.

  10. crunchyfrog

    It would be ironic if Microsoft demanded 30% from Apple TV subscriptions to have their app on Xbox. Maybe even more so if they demanded that Apple lists each series as a separate app on the Xbox so they can be sure to get that 30%.

  11. RonV42

    We limit ourselves to one subscription streaming service that we can all agree on Disney +. Everything else comes "free" via Pluto, STRR, and other services on the Roku or Xbox. Apple is doing what they must for their product to be profitable and putting their services on as many platforms as possible.