Microsoft reportedly planning app for Xbox Game Pass to get around Apple rules

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An app may soon allow iPad and iPhone users to access Xbox Game Pass.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Microsoft is developing an iOS app to bring Game Pass to the iPad and iPhone, circumventing Apple App Store rules, Business Insider reported Thursday.

“We absolutely will end up on iOS,” Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer told employees at an all-hands meeting Wednesday, according to Business Insider.

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Microsoft announced in August that its Project xCloud video game service would be released in September for free to Xbox Games Pass Ultimate subscribers. The service gives people access to more than 100 games on the Xbox or PC, as well as its Xbox Live gaming social network.

Microsoft said at the time that devices powered by Google’s Android operating system would be supported but said Apple was blocking its efforts to bring its streaming game service to iPhone and iPad users. 

Apple defended the move, saying  it doesn’t allow streaming game apps like Microsoft’s xCloud service because they don’t follow the company’s guidelines, “including submitting games individually for review and appearing in charts and search.”

Apple reversed course last month, saying it’s changing its App Store rules to allow game streaming services, but Apple won’t simply let the game companies publish an app. Instead, game streaming firms are required to submit an app for each individual game on their service, which Apple will then review just like any of the other 1.8 million programs in the App Store.

That means a subscription service offering hundreds of games will need to create a separate app for each game that connects to that service.

Spencer told employees on Wednesday that Microsoft is exploring the possibility of getting the service to iPad and iPhone users through their browsers, Business Insider reported.

Apple and Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

CNET’s Ian Sherr contributed to this report.

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