Nov 20, 2020 - Technology

Cloud gaming services use iPhone's web browser door

Illustration of an iPhone with an opened padlock.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

One of the biggest trends in gaming is the ability to play console games wherever you are, on whatever type of device, thanks to the magic of cloud streaming. The tricky part has been finding a way to bring such gaming to iOS — since Apple wants to review and approve each game as a separate app.

Yes, but: Google, Nvidia and Microsoft have decided to work around, rather than with, Apple's rules. In recent weeks, all three have announced plans to bring their game services to iOS via the web browser — the one big opening in the wall around Apple's garden.

Driving the news:

  • Google said Thursday that it will begin public testing of its Stadia game service via the iOS Web browser within the next several weeks. "This will be the first phase of our iOS progressive web application," the company said.
  • Nvidia said Thursday that the beta version of its GeForce NOW is available immediately via Safari on iOS.
  • Microsoft said last month it would bring its Xcloud game streaming to iOS next year, also via the web browser.

Between the lines: The move allows the streaming game services to avoid oversight from Apple, or having to deal with its restrictions around payments. However, there could well be performance and/or usability compromises that come with having to play through the browser as compared to a standalone app.

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