Microsoft Has Negotiated To Release Xbox Exclusives On iOS

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Microsoft: In September of last year, when the clash between Epic Games and Apple was starting to gather traction, Microsoft took a stand in favor of the maker of Fortnite against the iPhone company’s stance and its harsh policies regarding the App Store.

Now, more than a year later, documents acquired by The Verge website bring interesting revelations, dating from February 2020. According to the documentation, Satya Nadella and Phil Spencer’s giant actually came very close to accepting the terms of the Cupertino-based corporation and launch Xbox exclusive games on the iPhone app store.

The files that the site had access to are part of the evidence used during Epic Games’ trial against Apple, which ended up being judged in favor of Apple. They show a sequence of email exchanges between Lori Wright, Microsoft’s director of business development, and several Apple executives negotiating to add Game Pass titles to iOS.

While Tim Cook’s company maintained a strict stance, requiring each game to be released individually as a single app, Wright tried to justify the idea that it wasn’t exactly user-friendly. Having unique apps for each game, she said, would create “frustration and confusion for consumers, resulting in a below-average experience on Apple devices compared to the experience on all other platforms.”

That wasn’t enough to make Apple’s execs give in, and the following month, Wright came up with another proposal: do launch games in individual apps, as long as they actually serve as shortcuts. The idea here was to install a small app, which would give access to xCloud’s system, running games directly from Microsoft’s servers. The executive pointed out that everything would work similarly to watchOS.

In a message in which she celebrated that she was getting closer and closer to reaching an agreement with Apple to release Game Pass games on iOS, Wright explained how the solution would work. With a proprietary streaming app, approximately 150MB, it would be possible to bundle all the Xbox games (which would weigh around just 30MB each) available on the App Store and save time — as well as money and labor — when necessary to perform updates.