It seems that Xbox Game Pass, and the cloud-based gaming service xCloud, will finally be coming to iOS devices some time in 2021. Reports from internal meetings at Xbox seem to indicated that the Xbox team are working on a “browser-based solution” that will see these products find a way onto Apple’s devices without breaking Apple's policies.
Business Insider reports that head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, revealed in an internal meeting his feelings on how the company was progressing with bringing the services to Apple’s devices, “We absolutely will end up on iOS.”
The Verge notes that Spencer also mentioned plans to bring xCloud to PC. This would allow PC gamers similar streaming opportunities offered by Google Stadia, but with Xbox’s first-party titles and the hundreds of third-party games. According to the report, Xbox has been testing a Windows 10 preview version with employees, with plans to have it in players’ homes in 2021.
Services such as xCloud and Stadia have previously been unable to function on Apple’s platforms. Recently, Apple made a change that would seemingly allow these services to function, but only if Xbox adds each individual game to the App Store for review. This would allow Apple to continue enforcing its 30% cut on everything sold in the store.
Services like Bandcamp are able to circumvent this by directing users outside of the platform. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney appears to be vehemently against this. In a recent exchange on Twitter with Shacknews CEO Asif Khan, Sweeney revealed that he believes this to be a “bad customer experience” designed by Apple to “prevent fair competition for payment processing.”
While this workaround will at least get Xbox Game Pass and xCloud onto iOS devices, gamers will be wondering about how well this method will function. Hopefully, given enough time, players could see this as a temporary solution before Apple finally bends and allows these streaming platforms to function on its store in the same way as other media-streaming apps.