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Apple is rolling out new rules for the App Store that will affect Google and Microsoft’s game streaming services

Apple revised its App Store guidelines on Friday before the release of iOS 14, the latest version of the iPhone operating system, expected later this month.

These guidelines are used by Apple employees to approve or reject apps and updates in the App Store. These rules have been scrutinized by app makers over the past few weeks, suggesting that the iPhone maker has too much control over the software iPhones run and how Apple accepts reduced payments for those apps. In particular, Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, is in a bitter legal battle with Apple over some of its policies, including the requirement to use in-app purchases for digital products. Apple removed Fortnite from its app store last month.

A major update on Friday affects game streaming services. Microsoft and Facebook have publicly stated in recent months that Apple’s rules have restricted the capabilities of its gaming apps on iPhones and iPads. Microsoft’s xCloud service is not available on iOS and the Facebook Games app is missing games on iPhones.

According to Apple, game streaming services like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud are explicitly allowed. However, there are conditions: The games offered on the service must be downloaded directly from the App Store and not from an all-in-one application. App makers may publish a so-called “catalog app” that refers to other games on the service. However, each game must be an individual application.

According to Apple’s rules, if a game streaming service contains 100 games, each of these games requires an individual app store listing, as well as a developer relationship with Apple. Individual games should also have some basic functionality when downloaded. All games and stores must offer in-app purchases through Apple’s payment processing system, which typically makes 30% of sales.

“It is still a bad experience for customers. Gamers want to jump straight from their catalog to a game organized in a single app, as they would movies or songs, and they don’t have to download more than 100 apps to play individual games. Cloud, ”a Microsoft representative said in a statement. A representative for Google declined to comment.

The rules underscore the tension between Apple’s control of its platform, which it believes is for security reasons, and emerging gaming services, which are seen by many as the future of the gaming industry. Game streaming services want to act as a platform for game developers, eg. Eg B. approval of individual games and selection of games offered. However, Apple wants streaming services to be more like a bunch of games. and states that he has to investigate all games.

Apple doesn’t have a cloud gaming service, but they do sell an iOS game subscription package called Apple Arcade.

Another change affects in-person courses purchased from an iPhone app. This spring, amid the pandemic, several companies that previously allowed users to reserve products in person, such as Classpass, began offering virtual courses. Apple’s rules previously stipulated that virtual classrooms were required to use Apple’s integrated checkout process.

Apple’s new guidelines state that personal virtual classes, such as fitness training, can bypass Apple for a fee. However, courses where an instructor teaches more in a multi-person class still require apps to use App Purchases.

Apple also addressed an issue raised by companies like WordPress and Hey, easing the requirement that free apps must use in-app purchases.

You can find a full changelog in the App Store on Apple’s website.

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