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Apple updates App Store guidelines to include game streaming apps, more

App Store on iPad
App Store on iPad (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has updated its developer guidelines to include game streaming apps.
  • They're now allowed, but each game they stream must be submitted for review.
  • IAP won't be required for specific types of purchases, too.

Apple today updated its App Store Review Guidelines to take into account a few issues that have come up in recent weeks and months. The main one that will catch everyone's eye is the fact developers can now get game streaming apps into the App Store. But there's a caveat.

Apple says that any streaming app can be submitted to the App Store but that every game that it streams will also need to be submitted for review. It also means that each game will appear in things like App Store search results and charts. It'll also require that all games integrate with system-level features, perhaps including Game Center.

Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.

If all of this sounds familiar, it's because it's similar to the method that GameClub uses with its own game subscription service. Nothing is streamed, but GameClub users get their games outside of the main GameClub app. Streaming games will apparently be no different.

There are more changes, too. Apple will now allow person-to-person in-app purchases to take place outside of the App Store's in-app purchase system. That could include things like fitness training, for example. If it happens in real-time, this rule change would likely apply.

Moving on, Apple also updated its guidelines to take into account new iOS 14 features, including App Clips. Apple says that they must be included in the main app library and that they cannot contain any form of advertising.

Developers looking for the full rundown of changes can head to the App Store Review Guidelines on Apple's developer portal (opens in new tab).

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

2 Comments
  • I'm sorry if I'm not connecting the dots but do these changes improve the chances of seeing Microsoft's xCloud game streaming platform on IOS?
  • Yes and no. Microsoft can submit it and have it approved. But each game will need to be submitted separately and go through its own review process. Ultimately, will Microsoft want to do it? Maybe. Probably not.