Services like Project xCloud on Xbox GamePass or Nvidia's GeForce could, in theory, let you get PC or console-grade gaming experiences anywhere including your iPhone, but Apple isn't making that easy citing its App Store policies, and Microsoft is finally speaking out.
Microsoft made the following statement to Gizmodo about its relationship with Apple when it comes to Project xCloud:
“Our testing period for the Project xCloud preview app for iOS has expired. Unfortunately, we do not have a path to bring our vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS via the Apple App Store. 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. We believe that the customer should be at the heart of the gaming experience and gamers tell us they want to play, connect and share anywhere, no matter where they are. We agree."
Long story short, it appears to be down to Apple's terms of service, as the Cupertino-based company claims that cloud gaming services are in violation of its policies -- interactive apps are an issue, it seems, as well as in-app purchases. Apple's statement to Business Insider stated that “Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers."
"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,” the statement continued. “In addition to the App Store, developers can choose to reach all iPhone and iPad users over the web through Safari and other browsers on the App Store.”
Gizmodo also pointed out that Apple is currently under scrutiny by antitrust regulators. Although Apple doesn't currently have its own game streaming service, if it ever wanted to launch one (which it has considered in the past), it would be convenient not to have any competing platforms. It does have the subscription service Apple Arcade for mobile games.
Google is witnessing similar issues bringing its Stadia platform to iOS.
This isn't the first time that users of Apple products are running into these issues. Two years ago, Apple also made clear that Steam Link wasn't coming to iOS devices despite Valve's plans, citing, you guessed it, policy violations. One year later though, Valve successfully managed to get the service onto the App Store.