Facebook joins Microsoft in criticizing Apple’s tight control over the iOS App Store

Facebook Gaming app on iOS missing gaming features
by
Email Twitter: @LaurentGiret Aug 7th, 2020 inNews

Facebook is launching its new Facebook Gaming app on iOS today, but the company has also gone public about the complicated and frustrating process that led to the publication of the app on the iOS App Store today. In a long Twitter thread, the company clearly said that Apple rejected its Facebook Gaming app several times in the past couple of months, and the version available today is missing the gaming features that are available on the Android version of the app.

Facebook Gaming is the company’s gaming streaming platform similar to Twitch or Microsoft’s recently closed Mixer platform, but the Android app also include a games section that allows users to play casual games without leaving the app. That’s specifically what’s causing a problem to Apple, which apparently considers Facebook Gaming as gaming platform.

“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. We even appealed the guideline under the new app review process announced at WWDC. We did not receive a response,” Facebook explained on Twitter.

The company is apparently not giving up on delivering the full Facebook Gaming experience to iOS users at some point. “We can afford to spend ~6 months grinding thru Apple reviews, but many others can’t. And while we could have tried additional appeals, we didn’t want to hold back from launching the version for livestreamers and fans,” the company said in another tweet.

We’ve compiled the most important bits from the Twitter thread below:

We know many creators and fans have been waiting a long time for it, so thanks for sitting tight. But for FB game developers and players…we have some bad news. After months of submissions and repeated rejections by Apple, we’ve had to remove instant games entirely from the standalone app.

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. We even appealed the guideline under the new app review process announced at WWDC. We did not receive a response. Ghosted?

We can afford to spend ~6 months grinding thru Apple reviews, but many others can’t. And while we could have tried additional appeals, we didn’t want to hold back from launching the version for livestreamers and fans.

We’re sorry to devs and players for launching an experience that doesn’t match what you’re used to on Facebook Gaming. We’ll keep building a games platform. Playing games will always be part of Facebook Gaming whether Apple allows it in a standalone app or not. But there’s one more thing…For anyone on an Android device, you can enjoy the full Facebook Gaming experience.

Microsoft is in a relatively similar situation with its cloud gaming service that will be integrated to the Xbox Game Pass app on Android on September 15. Microsoft ended the iOS beta test for its cloud gaming service earlier this week, and confirmed that Apple wouldn’t allow it on its iOS App Store. “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,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

It will be interesting to see if Google will also join both Microsoft and Facebook in speaking out about Apple’s obsessive control over its iOS App Store. Google has also been unable to launch its Stadia cloud gaming service on iOS, which launched last year on Android, the web, and TVs with Chromecasts. Anyway, this is definitely not a good look for Apple, especially after its CEO Tim Cook appeared alongside the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a much-talked-about antitrust hearing in the US.

 

Share This Post:

Tags: | | |