Facebook Gaming launches on iOS

The Facebook Gaming app for iOS launched without games on Friday because of Apple’s App Store approval process. The social media giant’s app is used to watch streamers play video games, similar to what happens on Twitch, but features mini games that Apple’s policies reportedly wouldn’t allow.

“Unfortunately, we had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple’s approval on the standalone Facebook Gaming app,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said in an emailed statement. “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.”

Apple seemingly cited its App Store guidelines as the reason for the Facebook Gaming app’s rejection.

Last week in an antitrust hearing before a congressional subcommittee, Apple CEO Tim Cook was accused of harming competition in the App Store, and Microsoft’s Project xCloud app has faced similar challenges to Facebook’s. On Thursday, Microsoft said Apple was blocking its efforts to bring its game streaming service to iPhone and iPad users.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

When Microsoft officially rolls out its Project xCloud game streaming service Sept. 15, the service won’t be available on Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Business Insider reported Thursday. Gamers on one of Apple’s mobile devices won’t be able to join in, because of Apple App Store guidelines that require developers to submit each game for review. The streaming games available through Xbox Game Pass aren’t able to take part in the app review.

According to Apple, “our customers enjoy great apps and games from millions of developers and gaming services can absolutely launch on the App Store as long as they follow the same set of guidelines applicable to all developers including submitting games individually for review and appearing in charts and search.”