Technically speaking, after plenty of attention and pressure put on Apple, the company does allow for cloud-based streaming services to be used on its devices. However, it’s not via the App Store, and it’s not with an app via the App Store. Instead, services like Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming, Google’s Stadia, and Amazon’s Luna are accessible via Safari. But it sounds like Apple’s considered something else for its own service.
Apple made some concessions for companies to bring their cloud-based game streaming services to the App Store, but that olive branch was very short and littered with thorns. As a result, companies have simply resigned themselves to being forced to use Safari to let users access their cloud-based game streaming services. It works, but it’s not the best possible experience.
But, if this rumor were to actually result in something serious, it sounds like Apple may need to allow that to happen. Either that, or Apple’s stopping itself from launching yet another service so it doesn’t have to offer up options from the competition.
According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, via his own “Power On” newsletter, Apple has hosted internal discussions about launching its own cloud-based game streaming service. There’s no specific mention how far the conversations have gone, though. Per the newsletter:
Apple’s gaming service is somewhat unique, relying on games that run on its devices natively rather than from the cloud. Microsoft Corp., Nvidia Corp., Google and others have launched gaming services that run from the cloud. That allows support for a wider range of games and creates a “Netflix for games”-like experience. Oddly, Apple doesn’t allow those rivals to join Apple Arcade on the App Store. The company says that’s not because they’re competitors, but simply because it doesn’t allow all-you-can-eat cloud gaming services on its devices. Despite that, the company in the past has internally discussed the prospects of launching such a service, I’m told.
Apple Arcade is Apple’s own game subscription service, but it’s not reliant on the cloud. Which means that while games are easily accessible across devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, and the Apple TV, these games are all on the device directly. Microsoft, NVIDIA, Google, Amazon, and other companies want users to be able to access games from basically anywhere, as long as they have a stable connection — without forcing them to download anything (other than an initial app/client, of course).
As noted by Gurman, this would put Apple in an interesting situation. Right now, Apple can say it allows for cloud-based game streaming services, because it does — albeit not easily. But if Apple were to launch its own cloud-based game streaming service, then it would essentially be required to do the same for others. Or face some major backlash.
But, it’s also worth noting that the report indicates that these conversations happened at some point in the past. And, as mentioned above, there’s no indication that they are still going. So it sounds like Apple was at least massaging the idea a little bit, weighing the pros and cons. Maybe making a T-chart.
And maybe we’ll still see this result in yet another subscription service one day.