Sep 14, 2020 - Technology

Apple relaxes App Store rules for video game streaming

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Illustration of a real apple split with the apple logo/

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Apple on Friday announced a series of changes to the rules of the iOS App Store that make a bit more room for cloud-based video game services to run on iOS devices, but only if each game is separately submitted to Apple for review and approval.

Why it matters: Apple is under considerable criticism from a range of developers who want to see it soften its strict control of what's allowed in the App Store and reduce the number of products that are subject to a 30% commission.

Details:

  • Under a rule change announced Friday, Apple said companies like Google, with Stadia, or Microsoft, with xCloud, can offer a single "catalog" app of all their games, as long as the games are made individually available for Apple to review and for customers to download.
  • Apple also said it would not take a cut of online services that are offered by one individual to another, potentially easing concerns from Airbnb that Apple could demand a cut of online "experiences" its hosts offer.

Between the lines: Apple is trying to tweak things without giving up either its control over what is allowed in the store or the financial gains that come with its 30% cut of digital goods and services sold within apps.

Our thought bubble: The change is another example of Apple trying to make its 2008 business model and rules fit with a dramatically changed world in which far more services are handled in the cloud and the distinction between digital and physical is blurring.

What they're saying: Microsoft said it was not satisfied with Apple's concession.

  • “This remains a bad experience for customers,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
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