Washington – Morocco today
But thanks to Apple’s rules, it’s unclear how people will find it as third-party developers like Facebook are prohibited from directing their app users to websites that feature purchase mechanisms that are not owned by Apple. It’s a major point of contention not only with Facebook, but with other game companies like Epic who have fiercely protested Apple’s grip on iOS payments. Facebook’s Web Games Library, which includes HTML5-based games along with more advanced titles streamed directly from the cloud, is using the social network’s custom payments system called Facebook Pay to accept in-game purchases.
Facebook’s decision to bring its gaming platform to iOS via the web mimics the approach of Amazon and Microsoft, which have also released Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, for their cloud gaming services to roam the App Store. Last year, Facebook complained loudly when Apple blocked its attempt to put games in a standalone iOS app and said it would look for alternatives. Shortly thereafter Apple changed its rules to allow cloud-based games as long as they were submitted individually as apps to the App Store for review — a policy that Microsoft and others said did not address their desire to launch their own game storefronts on iOS.
The vice president of games said the Facebook Vivek Sharma said in a statement: “We came to the same conclusion as others: web apps are the only option for cloud game streaming on iOS at the moment.” As many have pointed out, Apple’s policy of ‘allowing’ cloud games on the App Store doesn’t allow much at all. Apple’s requirement for every cloud game to have its own page, be reviewed, and appear in search lists fail the purpose of cloud games. These prevent players from discovering new games, playing across devices, and accessing high-quality games instantly in native iOS apps – even for those not using the latest and most expensive hardware.”
“Apple’s policy on cloud games on the App Store doesn’t allow much at all”
Facebook isn’t a major player in gaming yet, mostly focused on getting players to broadcast their gameplay for fans to see. But last year it acquired a cloud gaming startup and released a few free games like Asphalt 9. Since then it has made its services available in more regions and added other titles like Assassin’s Creed: Rebellion, and it said 1.5 million people play its cloud games per month.
While Facebook has finally found a solution to get its cloud gaming on iOS, there are still significant restrictions that Apple’s Safari browser places on web games. The sound is turned off by default, games can’t send push notifications, and the graphics aren’t as powerful as in the original apps.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on its growth plans for the gaming website, but Apple’s rules state that developers cannot send users from a native app to a website using payment technology other than its own. Game feature developers on Facebook can do the marketing themselves, but these efforts may pale in comparison to the traffic that the main Facebook app can send.
Facebook cloud games are currently available in the US, parts of Canada and Mexico, while HTML games are accessible elsewhere as cloud gaming is slowly being brought to more regions.
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