Several sources reported this week that Microsoft is working on a browser-based edition of its cloud gaming service Project xCloud. Business Insider reported that Xbox chief Phil Spencer told Microsoft employees at a meeting Wednesday that the company will pursue a “direct browser-based solution” for bringing the Xbox Game Pass to Apple’s family of devices.
If this were to work similarly to features on other services such as Google Stadia, it would allow Game Pass subscribers to connect to xCloud’s servers on an Apple device via its web browser, rather than launching any kind of discreet individual app. It would work identically to how one logs into any other streaming service, such as Netflix or Hulu, in a browser window.
This news comes almost a month after Apple launched a new set of rules for its App Store in September. It would have allowed Microsoft to officially bring an xCloud app to iOS, but only if each game on the service was submitted to Apple as a separate playable app. As there are dozens of games on the Game Pass at any given time and they rotate in and out of the service monthly, this was essentially a case of Apple setting up a logistically-infeasible series of hoops for Microsoft to jump through. Naturally, Microsoft opted to decline.
According to Apple, this was done to make sure that Microsoft’s library of games on the Pass all individually meet Apple’s stringent guidelines for the App Store. According to everyone else, it’s another case this year of Apple using its policies as a weapon against competitors. If xCloud (and Stadia) was available