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February 26, 2021
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Xbox chief Phil Spencer confident xCloud will gain iOS support

Xbox chief Phil Spencer confident xCloud will gain iOS support

September 22, 2020 | By Chris Kerr

Xbox chief Phil Spencer appears confident that xCloud game streaming will eventually head to iOS devices, despite Apple effectively making that impossible with a recent update to its iOS App Review Guidelines.

Back in September, Apple modified its guidelines to force game streaming platforms on iOS to participate in the larger App Store ecosystem, making life difficult for services like Stadia and xCloud. 

For Microsoft, this would mean creating a separate app for every Xbox title that's compatible with xCloud, and given the cloud streaming support has recently been added to over 150 titles on Xbox Game Pass, that'd mean a lot of work. 

At the time, Microsoft said such a step would create a "bad experience for customers," and argued that users don't want to "be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud."

Yet, despite that apparent impasse, Xbox boss Phil Spencer told CNBC that he's "sure" the two companies will resolve their differences at some stage. When pushed about Microsoft's issues with Apple, Spencer explained the problems between the pair aren't financial, but rather philosophical. 

"When you get large scale general compute platforms like mobile phones, people should have access to the great content and services that are out there, and we remain committed to that," said Spencer. 

"There are over 3 billion people who play video games today, many of them play on phones, and we're committed to bringing Game Pass to all phones out there, including Apple Phones. We'll continue the conversations and I'm sure we'll get to some resolution.

"Our biggest issue isn't a financial issue. Our biggest issue is that cloud game streaming apps are actually not allowed in the way Game Pass is built for other platforms. For us, this is about gamers having great access to the content from the creators they love on the devices they own."

You can hear the full interview with Spencer, which touches on Microsoft's recent $7.5 billion purchase of ZeniMax Media and Bethesda, on the CNBC YouTube channel.

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