Google today announced iOS support for its Stadia cloud gaming service, following in the footsteps of Microsoft in turning to the mobile web to circumvent Apple’s App Store restrictions. Google says it has been building a progressive web app version of Stadia that will run in the mobile version of Apple’s Safari browser, similar to how Microsoft intends to deliver its competing xCloud service on iOS sometime next year.
Google intends to beat Microsoft to the punch with public testing of its version in the coming weeks.
Apple in late August clarified its rules around cloud gaming, telling providers like Google and Microsoft that their apps were not allowed on the App Store due to restrictions Apple imposes on software that streams games to the iPhone and iPad. Apple eventually loosened its restrictions after public criticism from Microsoft and others, but the App Store still requires companies to submit individual games for App Store review. Microsoft called the compromise a “bad experience for consumers” before deciding it would develop a web app version of xCloud for iOS instead. Now, Google is doing the same.
Google issued an update 12 months after the launch of Stadia. Stadia works more like a console. You have to buy games for the platform specifically. There are a hundred games on the platform including some games that you get with an optional Stadia Pro subscription.
Google says that iOS testing should start in the coming weeks. “This will be the first phase of our iOS progressive web application. As we test performance and add more features, your feedback will help us improve the Stadia experience for everyone. You can expect this feature to begin rolling out several weeks from now,” the company wrote.