Back in April, Facebook announced its dedicated gaming app, Facebook Gaming, to exclusively house gaming-related livestreams and content. A limited version of the app hit the iOS store today with the mini-game feature completely removed. A recent post from the official Facebook Gaming Twitter page sheds some light on why the full version of the app is currently unavailable.
3/ Citing App Store guideline 4.7, Apple rejected the app claiming the primary purpose of the Facebook Gaming app is to play games. It’s not. ~95% of app activity on Android is from watching livestreams. We shared this stat with Apple, but no luck.
— Facebook Gaming (@FacebookGaming) August 7, 2020
In a series of tweets, they explain what seems to be a disconnect or miscommunication between Facebook Gaming and Apple. The mini-game feature signaled to Apple that the main function Facebook Gaming app was to play games, which violates App Store guideline 4.7. Facebook Gaming rejected this notion, citing that 95% of app activity on Android is watching streams. They attempted to appeal under the new app review process revealed at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference but did not receive a response. Instead of continuing along the appeal process, the company opted to launch a limited version of the Facebook Gaming app to iOS users, to avoid inconveniencing streamers and fans.
Microsoft has shared a similar experience no too long ago when their xCloud service was rejected from the App Store under the same guidelines. Microsoft criticized the policy in the statement made to The Verge, saying “Apple stands alone as the only general-purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services… it consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content.” Apple responded to the comments in their own statement released to Business Insider to further explain the policy, saying “Apple isn’t able to review each game that’s available through Game Pass… The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers…”
For more on the App Store guidelines, click here.