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Stadia plans to bypass App Store with web app iOS launch

Stadia plans to bypass App Store with web app iOS launch

November 19, 2020 | By Alissa McAloon

Stadia has, like other cloud-based game streaming services, planned a somewhat unconventional launch for iOS platforms.

Rather than launch on the platform's App Store, Stadia will come to iOS by through a web app similar to what Microsoft is (reportedly) looking to do for xCloud and how Nvidia's GeForce Now rolled out on iOS today.

The reason for doing so, though not explicitly mentioned by the Stadia team, likely has to do with Apple's restrictive rules on how game streaming services can function on the App Store.

As of September, the iPhone-maker requires that streaming services list any and all games offered through their services on the App Store as individual listings, somewhat negating the friction-free appeal of game streaming in the process.

Each of those listings would then be required to adhere to the same Apple guidelines as every other app on the App Store, including a review process for updates. All of this makes a regular App Store launch for game streaming services an unattractive option for platforms like Stadia, leading to this recent rise in browser-based alternatives.

Public testing for Stadia iOS is expected to roll out in a few weeks and allow Google to solicit feedback while drip-feeding in new features, similar to how Stadia itself launched one year ago today. However given Apple's tight control on iOS as a platform (and its ongoing legal grudge match with Fortnite-maker Epic Games), it'll be interesting to see if it allows these web-based alternatives to continue on unopposed.

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