In a statement given to The Verge, Facebook said it has had its Gaming app rejected multiple times by Apple in recent months, but Apple cited its App Store guidelines to justify the rejections, claiming the primary purpose of the Facebook Gaming app is to play games.
Facebook says it shared usage data with Apple from its Android Facebook Gaming app that showed 95 percent of activity involves watching streams, but it was unable to change Apple’s stance on the matter.
Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said it chose to go ahead with the launch of its app in the App Store, but users faced an “inferior” experience compared to Android users.
“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,” said Sandberg. “We’re staying focused on building communities for the more than 380 million people who play games on Facebook every month — whether Apple allows it in a standalone app or not.”
A Facebook spokesperson added that it even appealed the guideline under the new app review process that Apple announced at WWDC, but it did not receive a response.
Apple has come in for heavy criticism from rivals and the gaming industry to loosen its App Store restrictions. Just yesterday, Microsoft said its “Project xCloud” streaming game service that pairs with its Xbox Game Pass won’t be available on iPhone and iPad when it launches this September.
The company complained that it no longer had a path to bring its vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS because Apple “consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content.”