Facebook Criticizes Apple's App Store Policies, Launches Gaming App on iOS Without Games

Facebook today joined Microsoft in condemning Apple's App Store policies, after the company was forced to remove the games feature from its Facebook Gaming app, which launches today on iOS.

facebook gaming app android

Facebook Gaming app on Google Play Store

In a statement given to The Verge, Facebook said it has had its Gaming app rejected multiple times by Apple in recent months, but Apple cited its App Store guidelines to justify the rejections, claiming the primary purpose of the Facebook Gaming app is to play games.

Facebook says it shared usage data with Apple from its Android Facebook Gaming app that showed 95 percent of activity involves watching streams, but it was unable to change Apple's stance on the matter.

Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said it chose to go ahead with the launch of its app in the ‌App Store‌, but users faced an "inferior" experience compared to Android users.

"Unfortunately, we had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple’s approval on the standalone Facebook Gaming app — meaning iOS users have an inferior experience to those using Android," said Sandberg. "We're staying focused on building communities for the more than 380 million people who play games on Facebook every month — whether Apple allows it in a standalone app or not."

A Facebook spokesperson added that it even appealed the guideline under the new app review process that Apple announced at WWDC, but it did not receive a response.

Apple has come in for heavy criticism from rivals and the gaming industry to loosen its ‌App Store‌ restrictions. Just yesterday, Microsoft said its "Project xCloud" streaming game service that pairs with its Xbox Game Pass won't be available on iPhone and iPad when it launches this September.

The company complained that it no longer had a path to bring its vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS because Apple "consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content."

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Top Rated Comments

LeeW Avatar
51 months ago
I don't agree with Apple on their restrictions, but I will give them a pass on keeping anything related to FaceBook away from users.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Geodextro Avatar
51 months ago
Tim Cook last week: ’We Want to Get Every App We Can on the Store, Not Keep Them Off’

(Unless they may outperform the apps/services we make or we otherwise don’t like them)
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Manzanito Avatar
51 months ago
Wow, apple is truly focused on protecting their gaming arcade thing, or whatever the hell it’s called.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Appleman3546 Avatar
51 months ago
First Microsoft, now Facebook... this is embarrassing for Apple that it allows video streaming competitors like Netflix but not video game streaming competitors. Who knew Apple was so afraid to compete with other platforms because their arbitrary policies likely will turn away devs. I can see the Samsung commercials already where Android users play Xbox and Facebook games. Apple’s App Store really has been dealing the heat on all sides, it is probably only a matter of time before browser downloads are mandated or competing apps (or app stores) are required under antitrust regulations (by Europe, US Supreme Court, or congress).
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mrcloaked Avatar
51 months ago
Practice restraint and focus.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jsmith189 Avatar
51 months ago
On a petty note, I'm glad a Facebook app was rejected.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)