Apple Patent Hints at Possible iOS Cloud Gaming Service

Apple may be blocking Google Stadia and Project xCloud, but a new patent suggests that they're still interested in cloud gaming.

A patent filed by Apple suggests that the company may be working on a new cloud gaming service.

The patent, which was spotted by Patently Apple, was seemingly filed in February but was only recently published in Europe. It’s titled “Enabling Interactive Service for Cloud Rendering Gaming in 5G Systems” and it largely focuses on the technology of how cloud gaming would work over a mobile connection.

“The controls and button-presses from the user’s computing device are transmitted to the server, where they are recorded, and the server then sends back the game’s response to the input controls,” reads part of the patent. “Current 5Gs system lacks the capability to provision interactive services for cloud rendering gaming in efficient and optimal manners.”

That last line sets the tone for the rest of the patent. It focuses on many of the problems which currently make cloud gaming on mobile devices an incredibly difficult (if not a sometimes technically impossible) prospect. For each of these problems, it offers a possible solution.

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Most of it is about as dry as you’d expect, but there are a couple of interesting notes. For instance, the patent lists an issue with “Efficiently and optimally managing network resources for provisioning the interactive service” and notes that the “5G system may need a mechanism for access control and service authorization” in order to offer high demanded bandwidth and low latency.”

Why is that interesting? Well, Apple suggests that a possible solution may be an “Interactive service subscription and service authorization to support on-demand cloud rendering gaming.”That particular section certainly makes it sound like Apple believes that a possible solution to mobile cloud gaming issues may involve a subscription service.

The patent is generic enough to avoid confirming such a suspicion beyond any doubt, but recent events would certainly suggest that Apple is especially interested in producing their own cloud service. After all, they’ve blocked the existing versions of Project xCloud and Stadia from being added to the App Store, and Apple’s recent actions against Epic Games and Fortnite only verify the extent of their intent to keep the Apple ecosystem as contained as possible.

That being the case, it just makes sense that Apple would pursue the development of its own cloud gaming app even if the language of this patent is generic enough to suggest that it’s really just trying to point out general issues and offer possible solutions. Ultimately, though, time will tell if Apple works on its own cloud gaming service as a kind of companion to the Apple Arcade concept.