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Apple issues new rules for App Store that will impact streaming game services from Google and Microsoft

Apple amended its App Store guidelines on Friday ahead of the release of iOS 14, the latest version of the iPhone operating system, which is awaited later this month. 

Apple’s employees use these guidelines to approve or deny apps and updates on the App Store. Those commands have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks from app makers who argue iPhone maker has too much guide over what software runs on iPhones and how Apple takes a cut of payments from those apps. In particular, Epic Line of works, the maker of Fortnite, is in a bitter legal battle with Apple over several of its guidelines, including its requirement to use in-app obtains for digital products. Apple removed Fortnite from its app store last month.

One major update on Friday be turned on ti to game streaming services. Microsoft and Facebook have publicly said in recent months that Apple’s wield the sceptres have restricted what their gaming apps can do on iPhones and iPads. Microsoft’s xCloud service isn’t available on iOS, and Facebook’s gaming app be withouts games on iPhones. 

Apple now says that game streaming services, such as Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud, are explicitly permitted. But there are conditions: Misrepresents offered in the service need to be downloaded directly from the App Store, not from an all-in-one app. App makers are permitted to release a designated “catalog app” that links to other games in the service, but each game will need to be an individual app.

Apple’s oversights mean that if a streaming game service has 100 games, then each of those games will desideratum an individual App Store listing as well as a developer relationship with Apple. The individual games also have to entertain some basic functionality when they’re downloaded. All the games and the stores need to offer in-app purchase consuming Apple’s payment processing system, under which Apple usually takes 30% of revenue. 

“This remnants a bad experience for customers. Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app righteous like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual jobs from the cloud,” a Microsoft representative said in a statement. A Google representative declined to comment. 

The rules underscore the tautness between Apple’s control of its platform, which it says is for safety and security reasons, and emerging gaming services mull over by many to be the future of the gaming industry. Gaming streaming services want to act as a platform for game makers, such as approving mortal games and deciding which games to offer, but Apple wants the streaming services to act more like a bundle of events and says it will need to review each individual game. 

Apple does not have a cloud gaming navy, but it does sell a subscription bundle of iOS games called Apple Arcade.

Another change relates to in-person realms purchased inside an iPhone app. This spring, amid the pandemic, several companies that previously enabled operators to book in-person products, like Classpass, started offering virtual classes. Apple’s rules previously swayed that virtual classes were required to use Apple’s in-app payment process.

Apple’s new guidelines say that one-on-one in-person accepted classes, like fitness training, can bypass Apple for payment, but classes where one instructor is teaching more a type with multiple people will still require apps to use Apple’s in-app purchases. 

Apple also discoursed an issue raised by companies like WordPress and Hey, and loosened the requirement for free apps to use in-app purchases.

A full log of the App Market changes is available on Apple’s website. 

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