Tuesday, October 20, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Stadium Removed From the App Store

Zach Knox:

Today, I launched a new web browser app for iOS. It displays webpages in full screen, allows you to change your user agent, has a way to authenticate without the user agent, and has game controller support. How strange!

Stadium is specialized, but it happens to be great for using game streaming services!

Zach Knox:

My app is being removed from the App Store, AMA

[…]

I was “extending WebKit” by hooking it into the native GameController framework and thus Bluetooth controllers, which they didn’t like.

This does seem to be against the guidelines, though I think it’s a bad rule.

Apple:

4.7 HTML5 Games, Bots, etc.

Apps may contain or run code that is not embedded in the binary (e.g. HTML5-based games, bots, etc.), as long as code distribution isn’t the main purpose of the app, the code is not offered in a store or store-like interface, and provided that the software (1) is free or purchased using in-app purchase; (2) only uses capabilities available in a standard WebKit view (e.g. it must open and run natively in Safari without modifications or additional software); your app must use WebKit and JavaScript Core to run third-party software and should not attempt to extend or expose native platform APIs to third-party software

Jon Porter:

Although Stadium will soon disappear from the App Store, the principle of using a web app to offer game streaming on iOS isn’t going anywhere. This is the approach Amazon is using for its own Luna cloud gaming service. It’s looking like this is also the route Google will have to go down if it wants to officially get Stadia on iOS. At the moment, Stadia is unavailable on the iPhone in its current form despite a recent App Store rule change.

Dan Moren:

The promise of playing Xbox games on my iOS devices has been tempting me for a while; though I’m not a hardcore gamer, there are a number of titles I like to play on my Xbox One, most recently Star Wars: Squadrons. Plus, the ability to still do some gaming, even when the sole TV in our household is tied up, definitely has some appeal.

So the news a few weeks back that remote play was coming to Microsoft’s iOS app was welcome indeed. Unlike the contentious Project xCloud game streaming, remote play falls into a more standard (and, to Apple, more acceptable) category of apps: it’s basically a screen-sharing client. So, the Xbox app for iPhone and iPad now lets you screen share with the Xbox in your house over your local network or, if your connection is good enough, the Internet.

Previously:

Update (2020-10-22): Ben Schoon:

Speaking to 9to5Google, Apple provided a bit more background on why “Stadium” was removed from the App Store.

While the company has respect for the creativity, they say Stadium uses public APIs in a way that Apple does not intend.

Megan Farokhmanesh:

Amazon’s cloud gaming service, Luna, is entering early access today, the company announced. A small number of US-based customers will receive invitations to test out the service and even purchase Amazon’s game controller if they so choose (though it’s not required to play games on Luna).

Will Apple also forbid Amazon from letting its app talk to a game controller because it uses Web technologies?

Update (2020-11-07): Alex Russell:

Keep in mind re: that in addition to disallowing others from shimming web+bluetooth, Apple is refusing to implement the Web Bluetooth spec in their browser.

This is the real-world texture of a deep, abiding commitment to a less-than-capable web.

3 Comments

Such an odd distinction. You can stream Xbox games to your phone if the Xbox is on your WiFi network, but otherwise no.

Professor Plasma

With such a strange show of force to an area which seems like it should be fairly niche, I can't help but wonder if there isn't some other forces at play. For instance, if there was a new Apple TV which would be pitched to be more of a gaming platform (perhaps tied in with Apple Arcade), then it would explain why a compromise like "make sure every streamed game is also on the App Store" is a fair compromise.

@Professor Plasma most likely they saw his idea, jotted it down in case it becomes profitable at some point in the future, then pre-emptively nipped any competition at the bud. Such is the power of monopolies.

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