It appears companies have caught on to a way to thumb their noses at Apple’s heavy restrictions on game streaming platforms. Nvidia, Microsoft, Amazon, and now Google are resorting to web applications to get their cloud-gaming services on iPhones. The real question is will Apple allow this breach of its walled garden or come up with an excuse to squash it?
On Thursday, Google announced Stadia is coming to iOS via a web client that will work with Safari Mobile. The search giant said a public beta is scheduled to begin rolling out in the weeks ahead. More information should be forthcoming as the testing draws near.
Stadia has already been available on Android phones for some time through a native application. While there is a Stadia app for iOS, it is mostly useless since you can only manage your Stadia account from it. It will not stream games to play.
Apple’s stance on cloud-gamming apps is somewhat contradictory in nature. While the company publicly says these types of applications are allowed, its internal policies demand games be submitted individually for approval. Not only would this be prohibitively time-consuming, but it also defeats the purpose of streaming games from the cloud.
Giving credit where credit is due, Reddit users were the first to come up with a workaround for playing Stadia games on iPhones. Their customized “Stadium” browser was available in the App Store starting in September. Unfortunately, Apple pulled the app in October once it had gained significant media exposure. Its official reasoning was that the Stadium browser used iOS APIs in a way Apple “had not intended.”
However, the idea caught on since Apple does not have any rules limiting cloud gaming from running on Safari. So Microsoft and Amazon announced they had begun working on a web clients for xCloud and Luna (respectively) that would use the iPhone’s Safari browser to stream games. Shortly after that, rumors surfaced that Nvidia might be doing the same with GeForce Now, but would not confirm the reports.
So far, Apple has not commented or indicated that it would push back against such efforts. However, that could very well change once something is actually up and running in Apple’s walled garden.