Apple's 'Arbitrary' App Store Policies Stifle the Launch of Facebook's Cloud-Streamed Games

Facebook has today announced a new series of cloud-streamed games for its app and website, but the service will be unavailable in-app to iOS users due to Apple's App Store policies (via CNBC).

01 Asphalt Full Game 1920x1080

Facebook explained in its announcement that the games will not be spun off into a separate cloud gaming service, instead remaining within Facebook's app and website.

The first set of games available this week include "Asphalt 9: Legends" by Gameloft, "Mobile Legends: Adventure" by Moonton, "PGA TOUR Golf Shootout" by Concrete Software, Inc., "Solitaire: Arthur's Tale" by Qublix Games, and "WWE SuperCard" by 2K Games. "Dirt Bike Unchained" by Red Bull is set to be added in the coming weeks.

The company says that cloud-streaming games will bring cross-play to Facebook for the first time, as well as cloud-playable ads for interactive demos, intended to "blur the line between games and ads." The games will be coming to a redesigned "Destination for Play" on Facebook for resuming games and discovering new ones.

Facebook's cloud gaming solution is not comparable to subscription services such as Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, or Microsoft's xCloud, since the company has focused on versions of mobile games that are initially free to play, rather than AAA titles.

"We think this will expand very quickly because we're not charging up front and you don't need to have a controller," said Jason Rubin, Facebook's vice president of special gaming initiatives.

However, the new cloud-streamed games will not be available on iOS. Facebook says that this is due to Apple's "arbitrary" ‌App Store‌ policies.

Apple does not allow apps to act as third-party app stores, refusing apps that distribute software "in a store or store-like interface." Apple now says that apps can offer a subscription to multiple games, but only if each game can be approved by Apple and is offered in its own app.

Although Facebook could theoretically bring cloud gaming to iOS via the browser version of Facebook, the company has no plans to do so.

"We don't want people going to web Facebook 20 times a day. We have a great app," Rubin said. "We would have to use Apple's technology and browser on iOS, and that isn’t optimized to the benefit of cloud games," said Rubin.

When Facebook users make a micro-transaction in a cloud-streamed game in a browser, 30 percent of revenue will go to Facebook and 70 percent will go to the game developers. For purchases made on Android, Facebook will not take a cut, and instead, its 30 percent goes to Google.

"We would be willing to give the 30 percent to Apple, that is not what's holding us up," Rubin said. "What's holding us up is we're not allowed to do the things that we're doing on Android," Rubin explained.

The snipe at Apple appears to be the latest in an ongoing feud between the two companies. In August, Facebook was forced to remove the games feature from its Facebook Gaming app on iOS for violating ‌App Store‌ policies.

Facebook's cloud-streamed games will begin rolling out this week to users near a Facebook data center, achieving coverage in California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C., with further expansion expected in the coming months.

Top Rated Comments

TonyC28 Avatar
4 weeks ago
“Blur the line between games and ads”

Facebook, go away.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
4 weeks ago
Considering that Facebook is essentially destroying the world, they should shut their piehole.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stevez67 Avatar
4 weeks ago
There's nothing arbitrary about the rules; you can't be a third party App Store. Ads "blurring the lines between ads and games" is just creepy.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jav6454 Avatar
4 weeks ago
In other words, data mining games.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
imnotthewalrus Avatar
4 weeks ago
Facebook is the devil.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PBG4 Dude Avatar
4 weeks ago


Also, a terrible experience. If they built ads into my PS4 games, I'd be out instantly.

I never understood the mobile gaming craze in general; maybe it's because I grew up on consoles, but I feel like it's the best option (PlayStation or Xbox). I tried a few games on my phone, but instantly lost interest. I still love my PS4 though.

Better not play any EA sports games then. They’re getting bad press for putting unskippable ads in NBA 2K21.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

0 Deals Hero

Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Deals to Plan For

Saturday November 21, 2020 10:00 am PST by
In the lead-up to Black Friday next week, we've been putting a spotlight on the best deals coming from various retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. In an effort to further prepare our readers for the best Black Friday deals, we're breaking down what we think should be on your radar for Black Friday in 2020. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...
m1 mac mini vignette

Apple Lists M1-Based Mac Mini Logic Boards With 10 Gigabit Ethernet in Internal Parts Ordering System

Friday November 20, 2020 9:32 am PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M1 chip is only available with Gigabit Ethernet, Apple has listed multiple M1-based Mac mini logic boards with 10 Gigabit Ethernet in an internal parts list for Apple Authorized Service Providers. For every Mac mini logic board with Gigabit Ethernet in the parts list, obtained by MacRumors, there is a corresponding logic board with 10 Gigabit Ethernet:...
ipad pro 2020 display

Black Friday Week Kicks Off With Up to $150 Savings on 2020 iPad Pro

Sunday November 22, 2020 2:37 pm PST by
As we head into Black Friday week, we're seeing some of the best deals of the season so far, with Amazon and Best Buy today discounting the latest iPad Pro models by up to $150 at the lowest prices we've ever tracked on these models. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep ...
macos big sur m1 macs restore issue

Apple Provides Instructions to Fix macOS Reinstallation Errors on M1 Macs

Sunday November 22, 2020 3:30 pm PST by
Shortly after the launch of Apple's new M1 Macs, we saw reports that attempts to restore and reinstall macOS on those machines right away could result in an installation error that would leave your Mac non-functional. Specifically, the error message would read: "An error occurred preparing the update. Failed to personalize the software update. Please try again." Over the weekend, Apple p...
iPhone 6s main

Rumor Claims iOS 15 to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and Original iPhone SE

Sunday November 22, 2020 9:25 am PST by
Apple will drop support for the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus in next year's release of iOS 15, according to a rumor shared today by Israeli site The Verifier. If the rumor is accurate, that would mean iOS 15 will be compatible with the following Apple devices: 2021 iPhone series iPhone 12 Pro Max iPhone 12 Pro iPhone 12 mini iPhone 12 iPhone 11 iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 11 Pro ...
new m1 chip

Craig Federighi: Native Windows on M1 Macs is 'Really up to Microsoft'

Friday November 20, 2020 11:57 am PST by
Following the release of the M1 Macs Apple executives have been doing interviews with a range of publications, and today, Ars Technica published another interview with software engineering chief Craig Federighi, hardware technologies lead Johny Srouji, and marketing VP Greg Joswiak. Much of the interview focuses on topics that the three have already covered in prior discussions, but there is ...
Walmart November Deals Hero

Black Friday Spotlight: Walmart Will Have AirPods Pro Down to Lowest Price of $169, and More Apple Deals

Thursday November 19, 2020 8:05 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Walmart. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Next ...
xlK6MS4MLqVFaskl

iFixit Shares iPhone 12 Pro Max Teardown Revealing L-Shaped Battery and Bigger Camera Module

Sunday November 22, 2020 2:53 am PST by
In the last of its iPhone 12 series teardowns, iFixit has published its iPhone 12 Pro Max disassembly, which reveals some unique differences in the design of the internals, including the full extent of the larger camera system responsible for the improved low-light performance on Apple's largest iPhone to date. On opening the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the first obvious difference compared to the...
apple leather sleeve

Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models Now Available From Apple

Friday November 20, 2020 12:16 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the Leather Sleeve for the new iPhone 12 models, with the accessory having first been announced alongside the updated iPhones in October. Priced at $129, the Leather Sleeve is not a case and is designed to be removed when the iPhone is in use. It features a cutout at the front that displays the time, and it comes with a matching leather strap. According to Apple, it ...