Google is circumventing Apple's ban on video game streaming apps with a web-based version of Stadia

  • Google is circumventing Apple's App Store policies to launch its video game streaming service on iPhones and iPads.
  • Google Stadia will work on Apple devices through a "progressive Web application," which is to say you can access it through your web browser rather than through a dedicated app.
  • Apple says video game streaming apps like Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass and Google's Stadia violate App Store publishing guidelines, and has kept them off the iPhone and iPad.
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After years of hype, the so-called "Netflix of gaming" is actually here: Both Google's Stadia and Microsoft's Game Pass offer some version of that concept.

Your games exist "in the cloud," and can be streamed over the internet to a variety of different platforms.

And Google announced on Thursday that its game streaming service will launch on iOS devices "several weeks from now." But instead of a dedicated Google Stadia app that lives on your phone, the company is using a "progressive Web application" to bring Stadia to iOS users.

In short: Google is providing access to Stadia through your mobile web browser, thus circumventing Apple's App Store policies that have kept it, along with Game Pass, off iPhones and iPads.

Apple's policies require the company review each app available in the App Store. An Apple spokesperson told Business Insider in August that that's not possible with game-streaming apps, thus keeping them off of Apple devices. 

"The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers," an Apple spokesperson said. "Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers."

When the new Stadia service arrives in the coming weeks, Google said it will be in a kind-of beta form. "This will be the first phase of our iOS progressive Web application," the company said. "As we test performance and add more features, your feedback will help us improve the Stadia experience for everyone."

Microsoft has pledged to do something similar with its Xbox Game Pass service, which has also been blocked by Apple from launching on the iOS App Store.

"We absolutely will end up on iOS," Xbox leader Phil Spencer told employees in early October. He spoke of a "direct browser-based solution" to get Game Pass onto iPhones and iPads, which sounds conceptually similar to what Google is doing with Stadia.

It's unlikely that Apple would move to block Google and Microsoft from doing as much. Apple has previously said "in addition to the App Store, developers can choose to reach all iPhone and iPad users over the web through Safari and other browsers on the App Store."

Got a tip? Contact Business Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email ([email protected]), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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