Facebook launches cloud games but says Apple won’t allow it on iOS


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Facebook announced on Monday the launch of cloud gaming on its desktop website and Android app but said it’s unable to bring the games to iOS due to Apple’s “arbitrary” policies.

Facebook’s web and Android users can try free-to-play games in seconds without leaving the social network. Users play a game that’s streamed from Facebook’s data centers without having to first download the game onto their devices. The idea is similar to services offered by Microsoft and Google, but without the console-quality games offered by those services.

The exclusion of Apple devices from Facebook cloud gaming is the latest shot fired in a long-running feud between the companies

The war of words dates to a comment by Apple CEO Tim Cook in March 2018, criticizing the social network’s handling of user privacy after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that resulted in the data of 87 million Facebook users being improperly accessed.

Since then, the companies have continued to duke it out, with Facebook recently calling into question Apple’s App Store policies as Washington lawmakers and regulators look into probes and hold antitrust hearings involving Big Tech, including the iPhone maker. 

Apple’s guidelines, which the company uses to determine which apps it approves or rejects, doesn’t allow applications that act like third-party app stores. It prohibits apps that distribute software as the “main purpose” of the app and bars code that is offered “in a store or store-like interface.”

Last month, Apple adjusted its guidelines around gaming services, saying that apps could offer a subscription to multiple games, but each game needs to be approved by Apple and offered in its own app.

Facebook could bring cloud gaming to iOS if it enables the new product on the mobile web version of its service, but the company wants users to go to its apps instead, said Jason Rubin, Facebook’s vice president of special gaming initiatives. 

“We don’t want people going to web Facebook 20 times a day. We have a great app,” Rubin said. “We would have to use Apple’s technology and browser on iOS, and that isn’t optimized to the benefit of cloud games.”

Facebook cloud gaming on iOS…