Future of Project xCloud on iPhone/iPad in Doubt

Posted on August 6, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile gaming, Project xCloud, Xbox with 15 Comments

Testers who were using Microsoft’s Project xCloud received some bad news this week when the beta expired a month earlier than expected, cutting off the beta service prematurely. But the problems may be deeper than expected: The availability of Project xCloud on Apple’s platforms has been postponed indefinitely.

“It’s our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices, but we have nothing further to share at this time regarding iOS,” a Microsoft statement notes. “Our Project xCloud preview TestFlight period has ended on iOS and we are focused on delivering cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to Android customers beginning September 15.”

For those unfamiliar, Microsoft has been testing Project xCloud on Android publicly since October 2019 and it has expanded the testing with more and more games, and more availability to testers, over time. But it wasn’t able to launch a preview on iOS (and iPadOS) until February, and that preview has been limited to a single game since the beginning.

Microsoft said all along that Apple was the problem.

“To comply with ‌App Store‌ policies, the preview experience on iOS may look and feel different for those who have been testing on Android,” Microsoft noted back in February in a bit of understatement. In addition to only being able to offer a single game for testing, Apple restricted the number of testers Microsoft could sign-up, and it prevented the firm from letting its app stream games from an Xbox One console.

Given Apple’s history of denying apps like Xbox Game Streaming access to its App Store, the feeling now is that Apple will never approve this app in any form. Meanwhile, its Apple Arcade platform runs unfettered across iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

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