Impractical, Inconvenient, and Ineffective

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 1 min read
Impractical, Inconvenient, and Ineffective

This line sticks out to my from Apple's new guidelines around streaming games on the App Store:

Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines β€” for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc.

I'm genuinely curious what app review entails for a game that's streamed from a server somewhere on the net. Let's imagine this was the route Microsoft chose to go down for their new Game Pass streaming service. The app would have:

  1. A basic UI for logging into your Microsoft account
  2. That same UI would have a sign up form using Apple's IAP
  3. Some code to reach out to the server that plays the games
  4. Some code to work with the Xbox, or other MFI controllers
  5. Effectively a video player that shows the content from the server running the game

The game itself, aka the vast majority of the app's content, would not be a part of the app bundle, and therefore not reviewable by Apple.

Maybe Apple would want to be able to play the game that's streamed, but how much are they going to play? The whole game? The first 10 minutes to make sure it boots?

And what about content updates? If a game gets an expansion with new content that app review didn't see the first time, would Apple need to review it? Would Microsoft have to submit a new build with zero code changes, but an incremented version number? Would the update be zero bits for users because the app was literally unchanged?

And how does this protect the user? Thr content lives on a server, so it could be changes at any time. Hell, thry could swap in a whole new game! As long as it's another Xbox game the local app should run exactly the same.

This is another "tell me why I'm wrong" posts, so please let me know, because where I'm sitting, this seems impractical, inconvenient, and ineffective.