In 2020, Apple found itself at the center of a larger discussion regarding cloud game streaming. The folks at Apple believed they were in the right, essentially blocking services from its App Store, while companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and others weren’t too happy with it. And a lot of customers found themselves on both sides of the fence, too. But those companies found a workaround, thanks to Apple’s own mobile web browser.
That workaround is Safari. Apple’s rules for the App Store essentially make it very difficult to launch a cloud-based game streaming service. Not, technically, impossible. But not great, either. Apple changed its rules to try and be more accommodating, to extend an olive branch, but that didn’t go over well, either. So companies that want to launch cloud-based game streaming services on Apple’s mobile devices had to go another route.
It’s not as smooth as a standalone app, like what those companies can offer on Android devices, but it gets the job done. Launching a web-based alternative to services like Microsoft’s xCloud let iPhone and iPad users finally use the service, something that Apple was more than happy to basically block.
Microsoft announced in 2020 that it planned to bring Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and cloud game streaming (in beta) to iOS and iPadOS devices in the spring of 2021. At the time, the company said it would be available via a mobile web browser, but didn’t specifically mention Safari. Interestingly, as of right now, per The Verge, testers at Microsoft are using Chrome-based browsers, like Microsoft’s own Edge. However, support for Safari is expected to be available, too.
And things are looking good! As noted in the report, we get our first look at what xCloud on the web looks like. It’s what you’d expect, with a straightforward library of content to peruse through, suggestions for new games to play, and more. It relies on the same user experience that Microsoft utilizes for all of its Xbox-related content. Nothing too surprising, and it certainly looks usable.
The report adds that when a game is launched, it will go into fullscreen mode automatically. And you’ll need an Xbox controller paired with your iPhone or iPad to play the games.
Microsoft said that Apple’s method for supporting cloud-based game streaming services, in which companies would have to individually submit each and every game to the App Store, wasn’t great for customers. So using the web browser just makes more sense, as far as Microsoft is concerned.
It looks like Microsoft is keeping up with its strategy, and iOS and iPadOS users should expect to see xCloud cloud game streaming launch, at least in a public preview version, in the coming months.
Are you looking forward to this?