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Facebook Criticizes Apple’s App Store Policies, Launches Gaming App on iOS Without Games

Facebook has joined Microsoft in condemning Apple’s App Store policies, after the company was forced to remove the games feature from its Facebook Gaming app, which launches today on iOS. From a report: In a statement, Facebook said it has had its Gaming app rejected multiple times by Apple in recent months, but Apple cited its App Store guidelines to justify the rejections, claiming the primary purpose of the Facebook Gaming app is to play games. Facebook says it shared usage data with Apple from its Android Facebook Gaming app that showed 95 percent of activity involves watching streams, but it was unable to change Apple’s stance on the matter.

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said it chose to go ahead with the launch of its app in the App Store, but users faced an “inferior” experience compared to Android users. “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 Sandberg. “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.” Microsoft, which is facing a similar challenge, said on Thursday: Our testing period for the Project xCloud preview app for iOS has expired. Unfortunately, we do not have a path to bring our vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS via the Apple 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. 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. We are committed to finding a path to bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to the iOS platform. We believe that the customer should be at the heart of the gaming experience and gamers tell us they want to play, connect and share anywhere, no matter where they are. We agree.

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