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Apple Allows iOS Game Streaming

Apple has loosened up restrictions on streaming games and in-app purchases in the latest review guidelines for its App Store.

The guidelines, released over the weekend, will now allow games that stream remotely over the web rather than from local content installed to a customer’s device.

Streaming games must be submitted individually, and while catalogue apps are allowed for services like Microsoft xCloud and Google Stadia, they must link to separate App Store pages for each game.

“Games offered in a streaming game service subscription must be downloaded directly from the App Store, must be designed to avoid duplicate payment by a subscriber, and should not disadvantage non-subscriber customers.

“Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines – for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality,” the guidelines say.

Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Fortnite developer Epic Games, which is currently embroiled in legal action against Apple over the popular game’s removal from the App Store, was not impressed by the changes.

The new guidelines also relax in-app purchase requirements for apps that offer one-to-one tuition, and for some services such as email apps.

“If your app enables the purchase of realtime person-to-person experiences between two individuals (for example tutoring students, medical consultations, real estate tours, or fitness training), you may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase to collect those payments. One-to-few and one-to-many realtime experiences must use in-app purchase.

“Free apps acting as a stand-alone companion to a paid web based tool (eg. VOIP, Cloud Storage, Email Services, Web Hosting) do not need to use in-app purchase, provided there is no purchasing inside the app, or calls to action for purchase outside of the app,” the guidelines say.

Apple takes a cut – dubbed the “Apple Tax” – of between 15 and 30 per cent of all in-app purchase and subscription revenue for App Store apps.

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