After plans to get Xbox Game Pass on Switch and PlayStation seem to have fallen through, Microsoft is still looking to get its service on as many platforms as it can. And according to a new report from Business Insider, the company has its sights set on iOS.
According to the report, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer told employees at an all-hands meeting this past Wednesday that the company would be targeting a 2021 launch. Because Apple requires apps to go through review upon each update, Xbox Game Pass would be required to submit any update for any game that went through the streaming service to Apple per the company’s guidelines. Keep in mind that Xbox Game Pass has a few hundred games on its service, several of which are brand new and receiving frequent updates. In an effort to circumvent this, it sounds like Microsoft is going to try and make Xbox Game Pass accessible through browsers on iOS devices instead of a dedicated app, with Spencer specifically saying he wanted a “direct browser-based solution.”
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If Microsoft brings Xbox Game Pass to iOS, that will make four platforms that the service appears on. This will join the Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs, and Android devices alongside the xCloud game streaming service Microsoft launched last month. Game Pass will also launch alongside the Xbox Series X/S, and has been a pretty key selling point for Microsoft as it heads into the consoles’ release date on November 10.
Microsoft has apparently been in talks to get Xbox Game Pass on its competitors systems, but according to Spencer, Nintendo and Sony don’t seem to have much interest in having the service on their platforms.
“The thing about other gaming console platforms is we’re not able to bring a full Xbox experience on those platforms,” Spencer said in an interview with GameStar.
“In places where we have brought Xbox – mobile phones like we’re doing now with Project xCloud with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate [and] what we’ve done with PC bringing our full Xbox experience there – we know when somebody is playing one of our Xbox games there is an expectation that they’ve got their Xbox Live community, they have their Achievements, Game Pass is an option, my first-party library is completely there…
“The other competitive platforms really aren’t interested in having a full Xbox experience on their hardware. But for us, we want to be where gamers want to be and that’s the path that we’re on.”
In the grand scheme of things it makes sense that iOS would be an easier sell, as Microsoft and Apple aren’t really competitors in the console games market. But Sony and Nintendo are only starting to play nice in some less embedded ways like the inclusion of cross play in major games and a few of Microsoft’s games making their way to those platforms like Cuphead and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Those are certainly easier sells than “hey direct competitor, can we put our branded service on your device?”