Business Insider reports that the Xbox team is working on ways to circumvent Apple’s rules and bring xCloud and Game Pass to iOS devices.
The report claims that Head of Xbox Phil Spencer told employees that “we absolutely will end up on iOS” in regards to the chances of some of Microsoft services being available on Apple devices sometime in the future.
As we previously mentioned in a report on Microsoft’s battle with Apple over this matter, xCloud and Game Pass are currently blocked from appearing on Apple’s App Store due to policies that prevent approved iOS apps from offering users the chance to make purchases and downloads from outside of the Apple ecosystem.
While Apple has long stated that this plan was put into place in order to ensure the integrity of any programs that run on iOS devices and to prevent app makers from allowing users to download potentially harmful (or substandard) programs, it’s widely believed that the real problem is that such downloads would technically not be subject to the 30% fee that Apple charges developers for in-app transactions. You may recall that this issue is at the heart of why Fortnite is now essentially banned from iOS devices.
It doesn’t sound like Microsoft has a solution to this problem in-place quite yet, but the report claims that the current plan is to develop a way for users to access xCloud and Game Pass content via their browsers. While that’s certainly not impossible, the investment in such technology would potentially be significant, especially if Microsoft intends to use it solely to circumvent Apple’s rules.
Then again, maybe that’s not the only thing they’re developing this technology for. Spencer also spoke about the team’s desire to bring Game Pass streaming to Windows 10 sometime next year, and a browser-based streaming solution would be a potentially effective way to allow PC gamers to access the technology regardless of the power of their device.
At the moment, though, the xCloud program is largely limited to Android devices. While early reviews of the service are positive (assuming your internet connection is stable enough to handle the service’s workload), it’s going to be hard to talk about xCloud’s potential in the long-term until we have a better idea of how Microsoft intends to bring the program to more devices.
While bringing xCloud to Windows 10 and iOS will be a huge step in the right direction, the true test of the service’s potential may just be how Microsoft brings xCloud to consoles and potentially turns the Xbox Series S into an even more valuable budget console.