Microsoft is still exploring options to bring Game Pass to iOS devices, and is considering a browser-based solution to bypass Apple’s App Store rules.
This is according to Business Insider, who reports that Xbox chief Phil Spencer told employees earlier this week that Microsoft is exploring a direct browser-based solution to bring Game Pass to the platform. Sources familiar with the matter told Business Insider that Microsoft expect to bring their subscription service to iOS sometime in 2021.
“We absolutely will end up on iOS,” Spencer reportedly told employees.
Microsoft has run into roadblocks in its attempts to bring Game Pass to iOS, due to Apple’s rules that prevent them from working as intended on the platform. Apple recently revised their rules as an olive branch to the companies, but the new rules still essentially block services such as Game Pass and Stadia from launching on iOS in the same form as they have on Android devices.
Microsoft themselves indicated as such in August, with a Microsoft spokesperson saying “”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’s decision may be based, as former Apple App Store director Phil Shoemaker claims, on the fact that services such as Game Pass would compete with Apple’s own service, Apple Arcade.
The browser-based workaround is a similar approach to the one Amazon took with their recently announced Luna. Amazon’s cloud-based platform will launch is a progressive web application (PWA), meaning that it can be run from a web browser on Apple devices, eliminating the need for the App Store.
In an interview with Engadget, Amazon revealed that they worked with Apple to implement this.
“We worked with the Safari team to ensure that some of the things that weren’t there are there, and that allowed us to kind of get to where we are today,” said Luna head of engineering and technology George Tsipolitis.
“We’ll continue working with Apple.” added Luna boss Marc Whitten. “We’d love to do a native experience. They’re evaluating what their policies are there, they keep talking about them. And when we can come up with a good experience there, we’ll ship that one, too.”