Microsoft has tried to return Xbox exclusives to … iPhone

If Microsoft’s plan had come true, iOs gamers could have enjoyed titles like the latest Halo on their smartphones.

Exclusives are a bit of the tendons of console warfare. Although there are obviously differences in hardware and very different design ideas, in the end, the next-gen consoles fit more or less into the same category. For manufacturers, the game catalog is, therefore, an absolutely important argument when it comes to seducing the public. And that, Microsoft got it right; According to The Verge, the firm would have quietly offered Apple to give it access to some of its flagship titles.

This story began in the fall of 2020, when Apple announced that it would open the doors of its App Store to streaming services such as Stadia or xCloud. Microsoft, for its part, was not enthusiastic about this idea.

But this positioning on the topic of cloud gaming was apparently just a facade, if one relies on the documents unearthed at the end of Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple. The latter suggest that Microsoft was not only willing to cooperate, but that the company had even offered to give him the keys to some of its prized exclusives.

Two different cloud catalog layouts

According to the US media, Microsoft’s idea was to deploy an xCloud application directly on the App Store. This would have made it possible, in particular, to take advantage of the green team’s flagship titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator or the new Halo Infinite right on your iPhone. A perspective for players, and that also seems interesting from a commercial point of view. It remains to be seen what caused the failure of this project; As expected, there was a difference of point of view in terms of the business model that was adopted that was correct.

To set up such a system, Apple required each app to have its own onboard streaming technology. A radically opposite view of Microsoft, which wanted to keep streaming-related code in a single application that served as a hub for individual applications. A sticking point that the two giants have not been able to overcome, according to Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s vice president of Cloud Gaming, who explained himself in an interview with The Verge.

Another try at a browser?

“Our proposal to implement our games as individual applications was designed to comply with the App Store policy. Apple rejected it because we had asked for there to be a single application for the streaming technology to support individual applications, “he explains. “Forcing all games to integrate these components was unthinkable in terms of engineering and customer support, resulting in an extremely negative customer experience.”

Enough to bring down the project? Yes and no. Because if the idea of ​​seeing an xCloud app land on the App Store seems definitely buried, Microsoft has another angle of attack to win over Apple’s public: web browsers. And if we trust Choudhry’s latest statement, the firm intends to intervene in the gap.

“We have changed our priorities and now we are moving towards a solution that would allow iOS users to access Xbox Cloud Gaming through their browser,” he explains. A solution that clearly looks like a spare tire, but could ultimately pay off. But in the current state of things, it will still take a long time before you can break Covenant on iPhone.

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