Google announced today that public testing for a web app version of Stadia on iOS will begin rolling out in the next several weeks.
Launched a year ago, Google’s video game streaming service is currently available on any desktop or laptop with a Chrome browser, most Android phones and tablets, and TVs using the Chromecast Ultra dongle. Now it’s finally set to come to Apple’s prolific iPhone via a new progressive web application, a fancy name for an app that exists solely in browser form.
So far Apple has blocked video game streaming apps like Stadia, Nvidia’s GeForce Now, and Microsoft’s xCloud from being available on its devices. The tech company told Bloomberg earlier this year that this was due to how the apps bundle games, rather than letting them be searched and purchased separately across the rest of the App Store. That explanation has never made much sense given that video streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime also bundle media, but tight control of the iOS ecosystem continues to be one of the most lucrative parts of Apple’s business.
Apple earned approximately 40% of its revenue in 2019 from the cut it takes of all purchases made on the App Store, many of which come from in-game microtransactions. The company has since been engaged in a long legal battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games, which tried to circumvent the company’s App Store payment systems earlier this year. As part of the ongoing PR battle between the two companies, Apple announced earlier this week that it will reduce the money it skims off the top of App Store purchases from 30% to 15% for smaller developers as part of a new Small Business Program launching January 1.
Google now appears to be following in Microsoft and Amazon’s footsteps, both of which announced earlier this fall that their video game streaming services would come to iOS via web versions that circumvent the App Store altogether. xCloud is currently set to come to iPhones sometime early next year, while Amazon’s Luna is already in early testing on the platform.
It’s not clear how the iOS version of Stadia will differ from the Chrome and Android versions, but iOS users should be able to start playing around with it by the end of the year as testing opens up.