Microsoft is working on a browser-based edition of its cloud gaming service Project xCloud, according to multiple reports. Business Insider reported that Xbox chief Phil Spencer told Microsoft employees at a meeting Wednesday that the company will pursue a “direct browser-based solution” for bringing the cloud-based, multi-platform version of its Xbox Game Pass subscription service to Apple’s family of devices. The Verge cites unnamed sources confirming the plans.
This news comes almost a month after Apple launched a new set of rules for its App Store in September. It would have allowed Microsoft to officially bring an xCloud app to iOS, but only if each game on the service was submitted to Apple as a separate playable app. As there are dozens of games on the Game Pass at any given time and they rotate in and out of the service monthly, this was essentially a case of Apple setting up a logistically-infeasible series of hoops for Microsoft to jump through. Naturally, Microsoft opted to decline.
According to Apple, this was done to make sure that Microsoft’s library of games on Game Pass all individually meet Apple’s stringent guidelines for the App Store. According to everyone else, it’s another case this year of Apple using its policies as a weapon against competitors. If xCloud (and similar services such as Google Stadia) were available in the App Store, that would provide a natural competitor for Apple’s own subscription service, Apple Arcade. If Apple were to follow its own stated policies, then Apple Arcade could not exist on the App Store in its current format.
While Microsoft has reportedly not