Microsoft announced this week its Xbox game streaming service, xCloud is arriving on Android in September 2020. The service is launching in 22 territories with over 100 games on 11 September and is ushering in a new future for Xbox Game Pass streaming. The service lets users stream a massive roster of games directly to their mobile devices without downloading anything but the app. Due to the reliance on an app, Microsoft may have to cut support for xCloud on iOS.
Yesterday the company announced a new partnership with Samsung whereas the xCloud service will launch on the new Galaxy Note 20 and include a special app. However, at the same time, Microsoft ended the xCloud game streaming test for iOS devices with no word of renewal.
A spokesperson told The Verge;
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#23F500″ class=”” size=”21″]“Our Project xCloud preview TestFlight period has ended on iOS. We are delivering cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to Android customers beginning September 15. It’s our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices.”[/perfectpullquote]
Apple has some strict limitations when it comes to apps launched on the iPhone and iPad. Especially in relation to “remote desktop clients”. As of now, remote streaming apps are only allowed to connect to a user-owned host device or game console owned by the user. For example, the PS4 allows users to stream games to their iOS devices because it is their own console streaming it. Both the host and the client must connect on a local network too. The xCloud service is a cloud-based streaming app and the cloud is not owned by the host and is definitely not on the same local network.
Games streamed through xCloud also have their own in-game purchases. This is another hurdle the company needs to jump with both Apple and Android. An app cannot have its own private microtransaction store without going through the Play Store and App Store. Of course, Apple and Google want those profit cuts.
The partnership with Samsung lets Microsoft bypass this by allowing players to redeem tokens and make in-app purchases like buying skins and DLC items in the Xbox Store. The special version of the Xbox Game Pass app in the Samsung Galaxy App Store allows this. Apple only has one official App Store.
It is going to be interesting to see how Microsoft tackles these restrictions in the lead up to the launch. Perhaps Apple will bend the rules for them? We doubt it.