Apple recently confirmed to Business Insider that since xCloud and Stadia cloud services could not be individually reviewed before being launched on these cloud-based platforms, neither service will be launching on the App Store.
This comes shortly after xCloud's game streaming test was removed from the App Store even though Microsoft had claimed it intended to "scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices."
Now, Microsoft has responded to Apple's most recent claims with scathing criticism in a statement to The Verge, claiming that Apple "stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass.
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Microsoft criticizes Apple's decision
Microsoft also believes that Apple “consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content.”
Microsoft also brings up a point regarding how it's already an organization intended to determine what content rating a game will receive. "All games available in the Xbox Game Pass catalog are rated for content by independent industry ratings bodies such as the ESRB and regional equivalents."
Apple claims that "before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers." However, this will sound like an empty reason considering prominent content rating groups are scoring and approving Xbox Game Pass titles in a detailed and considered manner.
Mobile gaming is full of predatory microtransactions, reused content and blatant rip-offs of other popular titles, yet Apple insists its catalog is under quality control. It's quite clear that the games found on Xbox Game Pass will be of high quality, making the company's reasoning seem more like a business tactic to ensure Apple Arcade survives on iOS while xCloud doesn't.
Microsoft closes its statement by saying that it "believes that the customer should be at the heart of the gaming experience and gamers tell us they want to play, connect and share anywhere, no matter where they are. We agree."
Apple's stubbornness to not allow xCloud to thrive on iOS can be construed as anti-consumer. We can only hope the company backs down on their decision sometime soon.