It’s not quite taking its ball and going home, but Facebook has finally decided to follow in Microsoft’s footsteps and launch its Cloud Gaming app as an in-browser web app, rather than through the iOS App Store.
Apple’s rules have put both Microsoft and Facebook on the back foot in trying to get their respective cloud gaming services onto iOS devices. Facebook has been fighting with Apple over this service since at least March of 2020, with the iPhone creator saying that all of its attempts to launch a Facebook Gaming app on iOS violate rule the iOS terms of service.
Apple did modify its rules to allow for cloud-based games last year, but still asked they be submitted as individual apps, not a hub for other games. “We’ve come to the same conclusion as others: web apps are the only option for streaming cloud games on iOS at the moment,” Facebook vice president of gaming Vivek Sharma told The Verge.
It’s the only solution, but seemingly by design, it’s an inferior one. Web apps can’t run as well as apps offered through the App Store, and don’t benefit from the discoverability possibilities of being on the store itself.
Because neither company refuses to budge on this front, Facebook's joyful-looking Instant Games are just sitting on a URL that you can add to your home screen, but not benefit from the perks of being in a standalone app.