12 votes

App Store review guidelines on streaming games

25 comments

  1. [11]
    Deimos
    (edited )
    Link
    To me, this mostly just seems like they're formalizing game-streaming not being allowed. The requirements won't be practical for any of the significant streaming services to follow—they can't list...

    To me, this mostly just seems like they're formalizing game-streaming not being allowed. The requirements won't be practical for any of the significant streaming services to follow—they can't list every game separately and get every update of every individual game reviewed.

    Edit: just noticed that Gamasutra published an article saying basically the same thing: Apple's updated iOS App Review Guidelines basically put the kibosh on Stadia, xCloud

    11 votes
    1. [8]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      Yeah. I get the distinct impression Apple does not understand what game streaming services are or who they’re for. It’s definitely not for the market of people navigating for applications on the...

      Yeah. I get the distinct impression Apple does not understand what game streaming services are or who they’re for. It’s definitely not for the market of people navigating for applications on the iOS App Store.

      That said, I wonder if it would be technically possible for the developers themselves to list their games on the store and just check off the boxes for which catalog apps can run it. I imagine the review wouldn’t have to bother doing any sort of code analysis, so it would basically just be content review and making sure it doesn’t do secret in-app purchasing or lifting privacy sensitive data.

      Can you list something in the iOS App Store that can’t run on an iOS device though? That seems ridiculous. I guess you could basically have an “app” that is essentially just a wrapper for a stream?

      7 votes
      1. [7]
        moocow1452
        Link Parent
        I totally see a world next year where Apple announces "Apple Arcade Pro" and puts a serious effort into courting streaming experiences to come to their platform first, so they might know more than...

        Yeah. I get the distinct impression Apple does not understand what game streaming services are or who they’re for. It’s definitely not for the market of people navigating for applications on the iOS App Store.

        I totally see a world next year where Apple announces "Apple Arcade Pro" and puts a serious effort into courting streaming experiences to come to their platform first, so they might know more than they are letting on.

        4 votes
        1. [6]
          NaraVara
          Link Parent
          I seriously doubt it. Apple clearly doesn’t give a shit about gaming. Pretty sure the only reason they ever even launched Apple Arcade was to counteract the perception of games on the App Store as...

          I seriously doubt it. Apple clearly doesn’t give a shit about gaming. Pretty sure the only reason they ever even launched Apple Arcade was to counteract the perception of games on the App Store as a place for online gambling shovelware.

          The App Store literally does not make that much money for Apple in the grand scheme of things. It’s a lot of money objectively, but a pittance relative to the rest of the business.

          1. [5]
            DougM
            Link Parent

            Apple has filed a patent for a cloud gaming-type streaming service similar to Google Stadia, Xbox Game Pass, and PlayStation Now.

            The patent filed in February (2020) was first spotted by Patently Apple and published internationally on August 14. It’s called “Enabling Interactive Service for Cloud Rendering Gaming in 5G Systems.”

            Apple is currently getting ready to introduce 5G phones in October, so a move into cloud gaming with 5G would make sense.

            “One potential use case for network controlled interactive service in fifth-generation (5G) wireless communication networks is cloud rendering game. Cloud gaming, (also known as gaming on demand) is a type of online gaming that allows direct and on-demand video streaming of games onto different computing devices through the use of a thin client,” the patent states.

            4 votes
            1. vord
              Link Parent
              Ugh. Can we start getring enforcement for abuse of monopolies leveraging their monopoly to force people onto the service they bought/created in response to a rising competitor? My scorn for...

              Ugh. Can we start getring enforcement for abuse of monopolies leveraging their monopoly to force people onto the service they bought/created in response to a rising competitor?

              My scorn for Microsoft has almost entirely shifted from 'for making and pushing shifty and terrible software to 'opening the floodgates for the tech monoploies by dismantling anti-trust'.

              3 votes
            2. [3]
              NaraVara
              Link Parent
              Apple files lots of patents. Many gaming related ones, even, that they don't end up doing anything with. I just see no market for an Apple cloud gaming platform. Small, easily digestible games are...

              Apple files lots of patents. Many gaming related ones, even, that they don't end up doing anything with.

              I just see no market for an Apple cloud gaming platform. Small, easily digestible games are already playable on iOS locally and nobody who cares about the "core gaming" market buys Macs anyway, so none of the "core gaming" games are developed with Apple hardware in mind as anything but an afterthought. What would they do, run Crysis on a Windows box to stream to your Mac or iPad? That doesn't seem very Appley.

              Maybe they would do something to enable running the Apple TV as a console, but that also seems like it would be dumb unless they cut some sort of deal with Sony to put PSNow on it. There's just no accessible market for them there. Their relationship with game developers has been terrible since long before the iPhone was even a glimmer in Steve Jobs' eye and it hasn't gotten any better.

              1. [2]
                DougM
                Link Parent
                This is an honest question, so please don't take it the wrong way. But do you understand what cloud gaming is? Nothing would have to be developed with Apple hardware in mind. That's not how it...

                I just see no market for an Apple cloud gaming platform. Small, easily digestible games are already playable on iOS locally and nobody who cares about the "core gaming" market buys Macs anyway, so none of the "core gaming" games are developed with Apple hardware in mind as anything but an afterthought. What would they do, run Crysis on a Windows box to stream to your Mac or iPad? That doesn't seem very Appley.

                This is an honest question, so please don't take it the wrong way. But do you understand what cloud gaming is?

                Nothing would have to be developed with Apple hardware in mind. That's not how it works. It would allow Mac, iPad, etc. users to play console games on their device through a streaming service akin to Netflix and Spotify. Every other major player is investing in it what makes you think Apple doesn't?

                What would they do, run Crysis on a Windows box to stream to your Mac or iPad? That doesn't seem very Appley.

                That isn't how it works.

                1 vote
                1. NaraVara
                  Link Parent
                  You realize the cloud is just someone else’s computer right? What do you think they’re running on? Apple’s data centers are all running Mac Pros. They can run whatever, but what would be the...

                  Nothing would have to be developed with Apple hardware in mind. That's not how it works. It would allow Mac, iPad, etc. users to play console games on their device through a streaming service akin to Netflix and Spotify.

                  You realize the cloud is just someone else’s computer right? What do you think they’re running on? Apple’s data centers are all running Mac Pros. They can run whatever, but what would be the point? Apple’s philosophy is to own and have full control of all the primary technologies underlying their products and services.

                  Every other major player is investing in it what makes you think Apple doesn't?

                  Netflix isn’t investing in gaming. It’s basically just the gaming companies, MS, and Google. Amazon isn’t, Facebook isn’t.

                  Apple has no good relationship with game developers. They’re crap at cross promotion that doesn’t benefit Apple in some way. They have no brand association or loyalty among the core-gaming audience. There is just nothing in it for them. The money they do make off “gaming” is largely loot-box bullshit whale hunts, which run just fine locally on iOS devices.

                  That isn't how it works.

                  That basically is how GeForceNow and Shadow work. You’re just renting a VM and the advantage is that it just piggybacks off your existing games library. This is kind of important, because otherwise you’re asking people to buy in with no library or back catalog to play.

                  1 vote
    2. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      The streaming services aren’t going to like it because it messes with their business model, but technically it’s basically republishing a shell for each game with a different game and version ID...

      The streaming services aren’t going to like it because it messes with their business model, but technically it’s basically republishing a shell for each game with a different game and version ID substituted, so I don’t see it as being technically infeasible? This can be automated.

      3 votes
      1. Wes
        Link Parent
        I betchya all that app boilerplate is going to take up a lot more storage space. I wonder what happens when games disappear from the service. Will they just get review bombed as no longer working?

        I betchya all that app boilerplate is going to take up a lot more storage space.

        I wonder what happens when games disappear from the service. Will they just get review bombed as no longer working?

        1 vote
  2. [7]
    moocow1452
    Link
    4.9 Streaming games Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate...
    4.9 Streaming games Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.

    4.9.1 Each streaming game must be submitted to the App Store as an individual app so that it has an App Store product page, appears in charts and search, has user ratings and review, can be managed with ScreenTime and other parental control apps, appears on the user’s device, etc.
    4.9.2 Streaming game services may offer a catalog app on the App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games on the App Store, provided that the app adheres to all guidelines, including offering users the option to pay for a subscription with in-app purchase and use Sign in with Apple. All the games included in the catalog app must link to an individual App Store product page.

    So the App Store will permit streaming games, and in theory will permit "catalog" applications that allow access and link to the individual apps that you then can subscribe to with the service of choice (Xcloud, Stadia). In practice, it's going to be a mess and I see a big future in Web Clients over the App Store for Streaming Services.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      vord
      Link Parent
      I wonder how the Steam Link app jibes with this guidelines. I can imagine several people being peeved if it gets pulled. Might not apply since you're not streaming from a cloud provider.

      I wonder how the Steam Link app jibes with this guidelines. I can imagine several people being peeved if it gets pulled.

      Might not apply since you're not streaming from a cloud provider.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        moocow1452
        Link Parent
        It was pulled in Beta, and spent a good year or so as an Android only option until Apple and Valve sorted a deal and disabled purchasing while streaming to iOS devices. It would kind of be a dick...

        I can imagine several people being peeved if it gets pulled.

        It was pulled in Beta, and spent a good year or so as an Android only option until Apple and Valve sorted a deal and disabled purchasing while streaming to iOS devices. It would kind of be a dick move to pull them again after all that and Apple doesn't need the PR hit right now.

        5 votes
        1. teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          Why can't Stadia do the same?

          and disabled purchasing while streaming to iOS devices

          Why can't Stadia do the same?

    2. [3]
      DougM
      Link Parent
      This is a massive roadblock to getting cloud gaming on iOS and it's simply Apple trying to save face after a bunch of bad press. How long until Apple releases their own competitor?

      This is a massive roadblock to getting cloud gaming on iOS and it's simply Apple trying to save face after a bunch of bad press.

      How long until Apple releases their own competitor?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        joplin
        Link Parent
        Apple already has a game service — Apple Arcade.

        Apple already has a game service — Apple Arcade.

        1. DougM
          Link Parent
          That is vastly different than the cloud gaming services such as Stadia and xCloud. Stadia and xCloud allow you to play console games in the cloud and what would be, on your iOS device. Currently...

          That is vastly different than the cloud gaming services such as Stadia and xCloud.

          Stadia and xCloud allow you to play console games in the cloud and what would be, on your iOS device. Currently you can play games akin to Red Dead Redemption 2, The Division 2, Destiny, etc on an Android device.

          Apple is likely going to follow the path of Google, Microsoft, and Nvidia and develop their own cloud gaming service.

          1 vote
  3. Saigot
    Link
    I think the future of mobile gaming is streaming and that is where all the 'buy cod once a year' gamers are heading. The casual gamer market used to be consoles, but now consoles cost more and...

    I think the future of mobile gaming is streaming and that is where all the 'buy cod once a year' gamers are heading.

    The casual gamer market used to be consoles, but now consoles cost more and more and basically require a subscription, people also have less of a need for tv's (particularly people that live around alot or are poor like students). I know I didn't own a tv until well out of college, and while I'm a PC enthusiast most people aren't going to want or know how to drop 2k on a gaming rig. They will spend a premium for high end internet.

    A whole generation is brought up gaming with mobile pubg and fortnite which I think is seen as the natural evolution of the freemium games they played since a toddler.

    With Apple's reluctance to adopt streaming and Android's growing niche for gamer phones (rog, raser etc small right now but growing rapidly) I think apple is going to lose the "premium" status they have in the US. If they are successful with apple silicon they could slide into the professional and productively space

    2 votes
  4. [4]
    joplin
    Link
    This sounds interesting. I still prefer downloading a game over streaming it, but if there's a game that's stream-only, I'm much more likely to try it out if I can get to it through the App Store...

    This sounds interesting. I still prefer downloading a game over streaming it, but if there's a game that's stream-only, I'm much more likely to try it out if I can get to it through the App Store and not by going through Google or Microsoft directly. If I can pay with ApplePay and not give any identifying details to those companies, then this could be useful.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      DougM
      Link Parent
      It won't be an option because all this does it make it more difficult for them to push their service to iOS. This isn't good news.

      It won't be an option because all this does it make it more difficult for them to push their service to iOS. This isn't good news.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        joplin
        Link Parent
        Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I read it as the opposite. It now makes it possible for them to include their games in the App Store whereas they couldn't before because their app violated the App...

        Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I read it as the opposite. It now makes it possible for them to include their games in the App Store whereas they couldn't before because their app violated the App Store guidelines. It sounds like so long as their process for playing a new game is to take the user to the App Store page for the game, then they can get their games on the App Store. How does that make it more difficult to push their product to iOS users? I wouldn't ever sign up for their services directly, so this opens their product up to me. Sounds like a win for them from where I sit.

        1. DougM
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          We are talking about cloud gaming through services such as Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud, and Nvidias GFN. When you play these games, you are playing AAA titles - such as Red Dead Redemption 2,...

          It sounds like so long as their process for playing a new game is to take the user to the App Store page for the game

          We are talking about cloud gaming through services such as Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud, and Nvidias GFN. When you play these games, you are playing AAA titles - such as Red Dead Redemption 2, The Division 2, Destiny, etc - through a streaming service. You are not downloading them, in the same sense that you do not download each show you watch on Netflix or song you play on Spotify.

          You wouldn't go into the store and download a separate app for each show or movie you watched.

          All apple has done is re-word the ban that allows them to point toward the developers and try to wash off the bad press that they have been getting.

          However, the media are seeing through it with the general consensus that they are likely planning their own service to try and own the market.

          At the end of the day, it's just Apple being Apple.

          2 votes
  5. [2]
    JackA
    Link
    I understand the reasons they're doing it, but where is the legal line between streaming a game via a dedicated gaming app vs opening up a game through teamviewer or any other productivity focused...

    I understand the reasons they're doing it, but where is the legal line between streaming a game via a dedicated gaming app vs opening up a game through teamviewer or any other productivity focused desktop streaming software?

    Obviously only one is feasible for gaming right now, but what happens when our networks and software get good enough that I can use remote desktop software to comfortably play games on a a pc. At that point what would stop google from renting out strong PC's to remote into that have game libraries on them.

    When does a certain level of quality or latency cross the line?

    1 vote
    1. onyxleopard
      Link Parent
      I don’t think this is a big deal as in that case you know you’re going through your Remote Desktop (and presumably sourced the game software on that system independently). What Apple doesn’t want...

      I don’t think this is a big deal as in that case you know you’re going through your Remote Desktop (and presumably sourced the game software on that system independently). What Apple doesn’t want is a thin client that puts the user into someone else’s digital storefront without getting a cut of transactions.

      To risk a bad analogy, they don’t want someone setting up a hotdog stand in the bathroom of their burger restaurant. They’ll let you grill your dogs and put them on their menu, but you don’t get to be the point of sale system, and you need to make the menu offerings according to their guidelines.

      At the end of the day, Apple is investing massively in a future of thick-client devices. A world where everyone carries a lightweight device with nothing more than a screen and networking radios and streams everything from the cloud is anathema to Apple’s success. They want rich, heavy apps running locally on their silicon. Stadia is the opposite of that.

      2 votes