Attendees watching a video game streamed at Facebook Gaming's booth during the 2018 Entertainment Expo show in Los Angeles. Photo by Bloomberg
The Briefing

Facebook-Apple Tensions on the Rise: The Information’s Tech Briefing

Photo: Attendees watching a video game streamed at Facebook Gaming's booth during the 2018 Entertainment Expo show in Los Angeles. Photo by Bloomberg

Facebook escalated its low-level warfare against Apple by unveiling a cloud gaming service that is only available on Android devices. This is a twist on a longstanding reality of mobile phones: lots of apps on iOS aren’t available on Android (try downloading the New Yorker magazine’s app to your Pixel), but because most affluent people in America have iPhones, it gets little attention.

Facebook can’t offer the service on iOS because it breaches the iPhone maker’s App Store rules that effectively block apps that offer lots of different cloud games. Whether Facebook has the leverage to make its stance successful is the multi-billion dollar question. Is anyone going to switch phones to play Facebook’s cloud gaming services? Maybe not immediately. But other cloud gaming services, from Google and Microsoft, are also not available on iOS. Over time, the absence of these services from the iOS App Store could become a bigger irritant for consumers.

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