Apple to Allow Game Streaming Services on App Store, With Conditions

Apple's App Store terms have been subject to growing scrutiny in recent months.
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Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report issued new App Store guidelines on Friday that will permit game streaming services, such as Stadia from Alphabet's  (GOOGL) - Get Report Google and Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report xCloud, with some caveats. 

The iPhone giant pointed to the guidelines on its developer site, and the new rules mark a change from a prior policy that blocked game streaming services on iOS. 

Apple shares were trading 2% lower on Friday at $111.17.

Under the revised guidelines, game streaming services must submit individual games to the App Store, which will them be vetted and approved for download by Apple. 

"Games offered in a streaming game service subscription must be downloaded directly from the App Store, must be designed to avoid duplicate payment by a subscriber, and should not disadvantage non-subscriber customers," Apple said on its developer blog. 

Apple is expected to release its next major iPhone software update, iOS14, later this month.

Requiring gaming services to offer content exclusively through the App Store also subjects them to Apple's App Store fees for paid transactions, typically 30%. 

The company's App Store rules have fallen under increasing scrutiny in the past few months, culminating in a high-profile legal battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games, which recently sued Apple on antitrust grounds. 

Epic's lawsuit against Apple originated in August, when Apple kicked Fortnite out of the App Store after Epic introduced direct payments that bypassed Apple's system. 

The Fortnite maker called Apple's App Store terms "oppressive" in its lawsuit. 

Earlier this week, Apple countersued Epic Games on grounds that its "brazen" actions amounted to breach of contract, and asked the court to award damages and bar Epic from circumventing its rules again.