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Facebook is the latest to sulk about Apple’s App Store gaming policy

Facebook has become the latest company to criticise Apple’s App Store policies after launching the Facebook Gaming app for iOS, minus the games.

The social network has criticised Apple for its decision to only allow gaming services that deliver games to be individually reviewed by the App Store team. Facebook says this policy leads to an “inferior experience” on iOS compared to the Android app, which allows users to play their favourite games.

“Unfortunately, we had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple’s approval on the standalone Facebook Gaming app — meaning iOS users have an inferior experience to those using Android,” said Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg in a statement.

“We’re staying focused on building communities for the more than 380 million people who play games on Facebook every month — whether Apple allows it in a standalone app or not.”

The company went into more detail in its criticism of the policy in a Twitter thread on Friday: “Citing App Store guideline 4.7, Apple rejected the app claiming the primary purpose of the Facebook Gaming app is to play games. It’s not. ~95% of app activity on Android is from watching livestreams. We shared this stat with Apple, but no luck.”


Facebook said it appealed the decision but had not heard back from Apple. The social network is the latest company to criticise the policy, which has also resulted in Microsoft ending its xCloud tests on the App Store and focusing on an Android-exclusive launch.

In new comments on Friday (via Protocol), Microsoft said: “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.”

Microsoft also said it is “committed to finding a path to bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to the iOS platform.”

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