Facebook Gaming App for iOS Launched without Mini Games Section

The renowned social media platform, Facebook, recently launched the Facebook Gaming app, a platform dedicated to watch live streaming of games in an attempt to compete with other platforms such as Twitch. While initially meant for Android users and made accessible for them, it was recently launched for their iOS counterparts after some months of reviewing. While it has been fully functional for Android users, the same can’t be said for the Apple App Store, as it comes without the section for mini games.

Condemning the Apple App Store policies, they decided to remove the section itself after facing several rejections in the past months. They had even attempted to obtain Apple’s nod of approval many times before going ahead with this decision. Facebook certainly isn’t too happy with this compromise. The social media platform had even made use of a new appeal process that Apple had introduced the previous year that is meant for developers facing multiple rejections for their apps, to challenge the App Store rules and guidelines. But this too didn’t succeed and that came as the final straw before they launched the iOS version of the app without Facebook’s Instant Games platform.

“Unfortunately, we had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple’s approval on the standalone Facebook Gaming app meaning iOS users have an inferior experience to those using Android. We’re staying focused on building communities for more than 380 million people who play games on Facebook every month whether Apple allows it in a standalone app or not.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer

Apple, on the other hand, justified their rejection of Facebook’s appeals by claiming App Store guidelines violations and emphasising that the main objective of using Facebook Gaming is for playing games. However, the social media platform counters by saying that about 95% of the app’s activity is watching streamers live streaming games. Apple cited App Store guideline 4.7 to reason for the rejections. Yet another Apple spokesperson told the publication that “our customers enjoy great apps and games from millions of developers, and gaming services can absolutely launch on the App Store as long as they follow the same set of guidelines applicable to all developers, including submitting games individually for review, and appearing in charts and search.”

Vivek Sharma, the Facebook Gaming chief further expressed his displeasure at more compromises that had to be made stating that “even on the main Facebook app and Messenger, we’ve been forced to bury Instant Games for years on iOS. This is shared pain across the games industry, which ultimately hurts players and devs and severely hamstrings innovation on mobile for other types of formats, like cloud gaming.”

What’s more is that, this is just some days after Microsoft ended their xCloud testing on iOS platforms. While having stated no reasons for the same, it can be speculated that the Apple Store policies may be the underlying cause for the same.

Regardless of all that, Apple still maintains that while they can’t review every single game offered by these services,  they are committed to making games thrive on iOS platforms as long as games are submitted individually for review and also meet other rules and guidelines of the App Store.

Deepanjan Datta

Deepanjan Datta

Management student who likes to write articles at times, into mobile photography and likes to cook as a hobby.

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