A couple of years ago, Valve attempted to launch its Steam Link app on the iPhone, but it was rejected. For those who are unfamiliar, Steam Link was basically a game streaming app that allowed gamers to stream Steam games from their accounts to their mobile devices. Apple cited App Store guideline violations as a reason why they rejected the app.
However, the good news is that Apple has since made some changes to the rules of its App Store that would essentially allow streaming apps onto the App Store, but don’t rejoice just yet because it seems that there is a catch. According to these rule changes, while streaming apps are now allowed on the App Store, the games that these services offer will also need to be available through the App Store.
Basically, Apple wants the ability to review these individual titles to ensure that they comply with the App Store rules. By offering games streamed through these services, Apple would not be able to review these games, so by changing the rules and making sure that the games offered through streaming are also available as individual listings, it will give them a chance to review them.
While this is a compromise that would allow services like Google Stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud, and NVIDIA’s GeForce Now to run on iOS devices, it could severely hamper them. This is because not all games are necessarily mobile games and as such there is no reason for them to be available through the App Store, thus limiting their availability.
While some might argue that this is a sign of Apple’s monopolistic behavior, it should be noted that to be fair, games available through Apple Arcade are also listed individually, so Apple is at the very least following their own rules.