Apple could be planning to take on Xbox Game Pass and GeForce Now

Could we soon get Apple Arcade+ as a cloud gaming service?

Apple Arcade on iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)

As well as a raft of changes to the way iOS operates in EU member states, Apple recently announced that cloud gaming apps are finally allowed on the App Store. That means iPhone and iPad owners will no longer have to run the likes of Xbox Cloud Gaming, GeForce Now and Antstream Arcade through a browser.

And that's a global decision, so not part of the same enforced changes it's having to make in Europe.

It's quite a move and has been very long coming – the long-departed OnLive argued for inclusion as far back as the start of the 2010s. But why the change of heart now? What has prompted Apple to suddenly ditch a policy it has so long defended?

Experts, including Zac Hall at 9to5Mac, wonder if it could be that Apple is looking to expand its own gaming service to rival Microsoft, Nvidia and those who run other cloud platforms. There is even the suggestion that Apple Arcade could gain a second, pricier tier that includes more complex games streamed over the internet.

To be honest, it makes sense for a couple of reasons. Netflix, for starters, not only offers a direct rival service to Apple Arcade, offering mobile games at no extra cost as part of a subscription to its streaming service, it plans to expand the feature to the cloud too.

It has been testing a "Games on TV" service with a select few in the UK and Canada which uses cloud gaming technology to stream titles to Smart TVs, plus the use of a mobile device as the controller.

In addition, Apple has recently ramped up its focus on gaming, both on MacBooks and the latest iPhone 15 Pro models. Indeed, the 15 Pro and Pro Max are so well-endowed that they can run ports of Resident Evil 4 and Death Stranding in amazing quality. The only problem is, previous iPhones cannot.

So that might be a good motive for launching a cloud gaming tier as part of Arcade – when streaming over the cloud, more complex, graphically rich games can run on older hardware. And that unlocks a much larger audience.

Of course, the main reason for allowing game streaming services at last could just be financial – after all, Apple will get a cut of any subscription fee if paid through the app. But it's definitely food for thought and I for one would be happy to see what's next.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.