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Winners and losers: Xbox Game Pass allowed on iOS as Netflix bins its Basic plan

It’s been a relatively quiet week in tech – at least compared to the first half of January which was packed with CES announcements followed by Samsung’s Galaxy S24 launch.

This week’s winner is Apple after the company made a positive update to its App Store guidelines. Our loser, meanwhile, is Netflix as the streaming service officially confirmed the end of its affordable ad-free Basic tier. 

App Store

Winner: Apple

This week’s winner is Apple after the company adjusted its guidelines in a way that will allow for game streaming apps to finally enter the App Store

This means you could soon be able to download Xbox Game Pass or Nvidia GeForce Now directly onto your iPhone from the iOS App Store. 

The change to the App Store guidelines come following feedback from iOS users and developers. 

“The changes Apple is announcing reflect feedback from Apple’s developer community and is consistent with the App Store’s mission to provide a trusted place for users to find apps they love and developers everywhere with new capabilities to grow their businesses”, shared Apple via its developer site

“Apps that host this content are responsible for ensuring all the software included in their app meets Apple’s high standards for user experience and safety”. 

In the past, game companies like Microsoft have been forced to stick with a Safari web app due to the fact the guidelines required each game on Game Pass to be submitted and approved individually in order to be listed on the App Store. 

This is a very welcome update that should make accessing game streaming services on an iPhone as convenient as accessing them on an Android phone. Now, we just need to wait to see if companies move quickly to roll out their apps and take advantage of these changes. 

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Netflix logo

Loser: Netflix 

Our loser this week is Netflix as the company officially confirmed that it was ending support for its Basic subscription plan in the UK and Canada.

This wasn’t entirely surprising to hear as the video streaming service had already taken away the option for new users to sign up for the Basic tier last July. However, it seems the time is nigh for existing users to be booted off Netflix’s cheapest ad-free plan, as well.

“The ads plan now accounts for 40% of all Netflix sign-ups in our ads markets and we’re looking to retire our Basic plan in some of our ads countries, starting with Canada and the UK in Q2 and taking it from there”, said Netflix in its latest earnings report

Netflix hasn’t announced a specific date for this change to its tier system, but the mention of Q2 means we can expect it to happen in April, May or June of this year. 

So, what does this mean for anyone currently subscribed to Netflix’s Basic plan? 

Essentially, you’ll have to choose between saving £3 and taking on ad breaks or paying an additional £3 to upgrade to the £10.99 a month Standard plan. This means you’ll either save or spend an additional £36 over the course of a year. Of course, you could also leave Netflix altogether if neither option sounds appealing.

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