Published: September 13, 2020

Microsoft says loosened App Store gaming rules still make for a 'bad experience'

Microsoft on Friday criticized recent changes to Apple's App Store that loosened restrictions for cloud gaming apps, stating that it still remains a "bad experience."

Earlier in the day, Apple outlined a number of changes that it's making to the App Store to loosen restrictions for cloud-based gaming services. That includes allowing "catalog" apps with the caveat that individual games must still have separate App Store listings.

While the rules allow cloud-based platforms to exist, Microsoft — creator of the xCloud gaming platform — believes that they're still too stringent to make the experience convenient for gamers.

"This remains a bad experience for customers. Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud," Microsoft wrote in a statement to CNET.

Microsoft added that it's "committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is core to that mission."

Google and Nvidia, makers of the Stadia and GeForce Now cloud gaming platforms, both declined to comment to media outlets.

Apple's exact guidelines allow companies to submit "catalog" apps that can help users sign up for a subscription service and find individual game listings on the App Store. As mentioned earlier, each individual game must be submitted to the App Store separately and have their own listing, though streaming clients are now acceptable. The catalog app itself, as well as games, must also comply with Apple's guidelines regarding updates, in-app purchases, and Sign in with Apple.

Microsoft has criticized Apple's App Store rules in the past. In August, the xCloud maker accused Apple of treating gaming apps unfairly compared to music or movie platforms.

Previously, Apple completely barred cloud gaming services from the App Store with a requirement that "each game must be downloaded directly from the App Store." Apple's own Apple Arcade, despite being a subscription-based service, adheres to that rule with individual game listings.


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