While iOS 17.4 is going to bring a lot of new choices and freedom to iPhone users in the EU, iPhone users all over the world are finally getting an annoying restriction or two lifted as well, and we won’t even have to wait for iOS 17.4 to get it. Apple has long held that game streaming services can’t offer apps on iPhone or iPad, instead requiring that all individual titles must have separate App Store listings. It seems as though they’ve finally changed their tune about that.
In a notice to developers, Apple says devs can now submit apps for game streaming services. That means Xbox Game Pass streaming and GeForce Now, for example, will no longer need to be accessed through frustrating progressive web apps. Such apps will still need to adhere to App Store rules and guidelines. The host app will have to maintain a rating suitable for the highest age-rated content to which it provides access.
In addition, apps with mini-apps, mini-games, chatbots, and plug-ins will be able to incorporate Apple’s in-app purchase system to offer paid digital content or services for the first time, such as a subscription for an individual chatbot. Together with these rules changes comes more for developers, including new app analytics, and new options for developers to offer sign-in features for their apps without requiring Sign-in with Apple.
We have not yet seen an official statement from Microsoft, Nvidia, Amazon, or other game streaming providers about upcoming app support. Assuming there are no major roadblocks left, some of them could have apps ready within days.
These appear to be general App Store guideline changes, which means these services might also be allowed to publish apps for Apple TV, a huge win for gamers. We might even see virtual gaming setups for Apple Vision Pro, similar to the Xbox Game Pass streaming app on Meta Quest.