Microsoft Has a Plan for Cloud Streaming on Apple Devices

Posted on October 9, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in iOS, iPadOS, Mobile gaming, Project xCloud, Xbox with 29 Comments

Apple infamously decided to block Xbox Game Pass cloud streaming on iPhones and iPads. But Microsoft has a plan to work around that.

“We absolutely will end up on iOS,” Microsoft Xbox chief Phil Spencer told employees at an all-hands meeting on Wednesday ahead of the launch of the Xbox Series X|S consoles. “We’ll end up on iPhones, and iPads with Game Pass.”

News of the plan was first leaked by Business Insider, but it’s been corroborated and expanded by multiple sources, who note that Mr. Spencer “feels good” about the solution, which involves using a web app that can bypass Apple’s App Store and its unfair business practices. Amazon revealed that it will use a similar solution to get its own gaming service, called Luna, on Apple’s devices too.

Microsoft began testing its Xbox Game Pass cloud streaming service—previously codenamed Project xCloud—back in February, but it was available only in a limited preview, with just one game, because of Apple’s restrictive policies. But when the firm was ready to launch the service, it revealed that it would have to skip iOS/iPadOS because Apple required it to offer each of the 200+ games that it will have at launch as separate apps in its store so that it could hoover up a 30 percent fee on each. Microsoft has then launched a campaign complaining about Apple’s business practices and recently altered its own app store rules to show Apple a fairer approach to dealing with developers.

Game streaming is currently available only on Android phones and tablets and Xbox consoles. But Microsoft plans to expand the service to Windows PCs in early 2021. And, based on this new information, to iPhones and iPads as well.

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