Microsoft was willing to do anything to launch its cloud gaming application on the App Store, even giving in to Apple’s many demands. There has even been talk of porting Xbox exclusive triple-A video games to the iPhone, as several emails seen by The Verge have revealed.
Bypassing Mac, iPad and iPhone gamers was unthinkable for Microsoft and its cloud gaming service, Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud). This represented too large a deficit that could have damaged the very concept of their streaming game service, which allows us to play video games anywhere from (almost) any platform, as long as we have an internet connection and an xCloud subscription. But it was without taking into account the inflexible position of Apple, in front of the applications of games in the cloud that go against his policy: “each game must be downloaded directly from the App Store”.
Apple has never hidden its aversion to cloud gaming. The company has proven this by blocking the services of Google, Microsoft (xCloud) and many others for a while, before giving in to the pressure. A change of position undoubtedly linked to the multiple criticisms and investigations for antitrust practices to which Apple has been subjected … before returning his jacket. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s numerous efforts have not yielded the desired results.
The exchanges between the two companies, revealed in the context of the lawsuit between Apple and Epic, the publisher and developer of Fortnite, have in fact revealed that Microsoft was ready to do a lot not to give up on professional gamers.
Exclusively for iPhone
The documents consulted by The Verge reveal in fact that Microsoft has been more than accommodating with its service of games in the cloud that is in the App Store. It was, above all, to bring some of its Xbox exclusives to the iPhone, but also, and above all, to offer each downloadable game individually. A no-name absurdity for cloud gaming, but a proposal that shows the extent of the concessions that Bill Gates’ company was willing to make. In this way, Microsoft met Apple’s “one game, one application” requirement.
However, the US giant stressed that this solution would require downloading the xCloud application “as a separate application to provide the appropriate experience”, in order to limit the size of the different gaming applications, but also to centralize betting. The American giant did not skimp on the arguments, pointing out that its solution was the best since it allowed to avoid overloading the App Store with hundreds of applications, but also the players’ devices since the different applications would actually be empty cases. . Everything would be based on the cloud gaming application.
Despite its many arguments and its more than conciliatory proposals, the US giant has failed to appease Apple, which has rejected all of them.
“Our proposal to bring games through individual applications was designed to comply with the policies of the App Store. Apple declined because we requested a single streaming technology app to support individual game apps, as stated in the initial email. Forcing all games to include our technical streaming application proved to be unrealistic from a support and engineering perspective and would have created an incredibly negative experience for customers, ”said Kareem Choudhry, CVP of Xbox Cloud Gaming, in a statement sent to The Verge.
A history of money
For its part, Apple told The Verge, through its spokesman Adam Dema, that the negotiations had failed over money: “Unfortunately, Microsoft offered a version of xCloud that did not meet our App Store review guidelines, specifically the requirement of use-in-purchase of an application to unlock additional functions or functions in an application ”.
Apple requires in-app purchases to go through the App Store, so that the company can recover a commission for each purchase. A restriction that is also the subject of much criticism, as well as several investigations for antitrust practices. Under pressure, Apple did not have the option to open up, but this was not the case at the time of negotiations with Microsoft, which nonetheless offered an option for Apple to receive its commission.
An alternative that saves the day
The American giant has still managed to find a solution that allows it to avoid further negotiations with Apple, while making its way to pro-Apple players. Microsoft offers a Safari web application so that Mac, iPad and iPhone users can enjoy Xbox Cloud Gaming and play the games included in the pass without having to install them on their device.
These documents shared by The Verge show how complicated exchanges can be between companies as large as Apple and Microsoft, but also how difficult the Cupertino company is in business. While this has earned it a reputation for being a closed business, it still seems to be starting to damage it.
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