Facebook launches Facebook Gaming on iOS without games, slams Apple’s App Store policies
Facebook has the launched Facebook Gaming app on iOS without games. The app is primarily meant to be used to watch streamers play video games but it also comes with a few mini games.
Facebook has had to remove all the mini games to pass Apple’s App Store approval process and the social media company is not in the least bit pleased about the compromise.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a press statement that they have had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple’s approval on the standalone Facebook Gaming app. This means that iOS users will get an “inferior experience” as compared to Android users.
Sandberg added that they are going to remain focused on building communities for around 380 million people who play games on Facebook every month, irrespective of “whether Apple allows it in this standalone app or not”.
Facebook has had the Facebook Gaming app rejected multiple times from the App Store over the last few months.
Apple cited App Store guideline 4.7 to explain these rejections and said that the primary purpose of the Facebook Gaming app was to play games. Facebook said it has shared usage data from the Android Facebook Gaming app that showed that 95% of the activity on the app was watching streams, but that did not change Apple’s decision.
Apple had unveiled an appeal process for situations like this at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this year in June but Facebook says that it has tried and failed to convince Apple to change its stance on the Facebook Gaming app.
A Facebook spokesperson said that they have appealed the new guideline under the new app review process but have received no response.
At the end of it, Facebook has had to remove games from the Facebook Gaming app that has launched on the App Store.
Facebook Gaming chief Vivek Sharma told The Verge that they have had to bury Instant Games from the main Facebook app and the Messenger for years on iOS. Sharma added that this issue with App Store policies is a shared pain across the games industry and it ultimately hurts players, developers and affects innovation on mobile for other formats like cloud gaming.