Apple has historically taken a tough stance against the inclusion of game streaming services on the App Store. This is in contrast to apps that stream film, TV, music and radio, all of which are allowed and encouraged.
But one company found this policy difficult to accept – and it’s one of Apple’s biggest competitors. Newly discovered private email records, uncovered by The Verge, show how far Microsoft was willing to go to launch its Xbox Cloud Gaming service on the App Store.
One of the big hurdles for Microsoft was Apple’s insistence that each individual game must be released as its own app (and subsequently updated and bug-fixed as such) in the App Store, even if the content was then streamed from servers. Yet emails seen by The Verge, which became public as part of the lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games, show that Microsoft was willing to look past this issue, at least at first.
Indeed, Microsoft was so keen to convince Apple of the merits of the plan that it offered to release several blockbuster games that had previously been Xbox exclusives on the App Store, a step described in the emails as “an incredibly exciting opportunity for iOS users”.
Yet negotiations broke down anyway. Apple refused to agree to let Microsoft split up the games in such a way that the streaming technology could be in a common app for the entire Xbox Game Streaming service, while individual games could be made into small-scale apps that would not need to be updated.
Instead, Apple wanted each game to be complete with all the necessary technology, which would have meant at least 150MB per game and thousands of apps to update over and over again for Microsoft.
“Forcing each game to include our streaming tech stack proved to be unrealistic from a support and engineering perspective and would create an incredibly negative experience for customers,” Microsoft representative Kareem Choudhry told The Verge.
Ultimately Microsoft decided instead to make its Xbox Cloud Gaming service available to iOS users via web browser.
This article originally appeared on M3 Sweden. Translation (using DeepL) and additional reporting by David Price.