18 August 2020
UPDATE (August 7th, 2020):
Soon after the claims of Appel's policies hindering Microsoft's xCloud iOS release, Apple has issued a statement on the matter explaining its stance. It said that since the service does not allow individual reviewing of gaming titles, it has been stopped from being available on the platform.
Here is the full statement:
"Our customers enjoy great apps and games from millions of developers and gaming services can absolutely launch on the App Store as long as they follow the same set of guidelines applicable to all developers including submitting games individually for review and appearing in charts and search."
In response to this reasoning, Microsoft's Xbox team was quick to condemn Apple's approach towards the competition. It said that Apple is enforcing App Store rules unfairly and thus depriving its users of the technology. Here is exactly what it said in response:
"Apple stands alone as the only general-purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass. And it consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content. All games available in the Xbox Game Pass catalog are rated for content by independent industry ratings bodies such as the ESRB and regional equivalents. We are committed to finding a path to bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to the iOS platform."
Original (August 6th, 2020)
Microsoft has revealed that it has ended xCloud beta testing on iOS starting August 5th. The announcement was made on the same day we got to know about its partnership with Samsung for the Galaxy Note 20 series. The reason behind the decision to end the testing is expected to have been taken due to Apple policies.
The xCloud beta testing on iOS began a few months ago and was scheduled to go on until September 11th. The developers have to use TestFight for beta testing their games on iOS which comes with certain limitations. It restricts devs to testing only one game at a time and that too with only up to 10,000 testers.
There are likely to be some other reasons related to Apple's policies that have made Microsoft end the testing so soon. Some speculations suggest that mandatory in-app purchases cut is likely to be one of the reasons. This is also the reason Google Staida is also available only on Android devices and not on iOS.
One of the Microsoft spokespeople told The Verge:
“Our Project xCloud preview TestFlight period has ended on iOS and we are focused on delivering cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to Android customers beginning September 15. It’s our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices.”