back to article Just like when you 'game over' two seconds into a new level... Facebook launches Gaming app without games on iOS

Facebook, Google, and Microsoft – suspected or convicted monopolists – are being thwarted from offering their respective game services by another tech giant facing scrutiny for anti-competitive behavior: Apple. The Facebook Gaming app launched for iOS on Friday without any games. The reason, Facebook says, is that Apple won't …

  1. IGotOut Silver badge

    Facebook are correct.

    Facebook Games is not a gaming platform, it's an advertising and data havesting platform.

    1. aki009

      Re: Facebook are correct.

      Let me fix that for you: "Facebook Games is a data harvesting platform disguised as advertising."

  2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Holmes

    It's hard to call Apple a monopolist unless you define monopoly power very narrowly indeed. It also seems like what they're doing is actually giving independent game makers a leg up by allowing them to publish their games independently of the big platforms. Conversely, of course, Apple this way gets a cut of each game publisher's game instead of only getting a cut from the "platform" app, so of course Apple's not going to let these platform apps into the App Store unless Facebook, Microsoft, etc. give Apple an appropriate piece of the action.

    1. elaar

      You describe it in a way where Apple's main focus is to help the independent game maker, and a by-product of that is that they receive more cash from direct app payments.

      Surely it's the other way round, what huge and very rich corporate company would have that mentality?

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Unhappy

        I can see where you would take my comment that way, but my assumption is that Apple is trying to make money. Any positive outcome for anyone else is purely happenstance or in furtherance of that goal.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, what they are saying to (independent) game makers is that if you want to sell your game to iPhone/iPad users then we'll ensure that our own App Store is the only platform that's available to you ... sounds monopolistic to me.

      1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Apple don’t specify that you can’t sell via other app stores. Nothing stopping you selling via the various android app stores, steam, epic games or any App Store you care to name. The only requirement is if you sell to iOS users , you sell via the App Store.

        1. Cuddles Silver badge

          Microsoft never specified that you couldn't use any other browser. Not only could you go with Apple or Linux instead, you were even allowed to install other browsers on Windows. Yet somehow they were still convicted of anti-competetive behaviour. That's why it's usually called "anti-competetive behaviour" and not just a monopoly - because you don't have to have an actual monopoly in order to be anti-competetive. Apple are big enough and their behaviour bad enough that many people think there is a problem even though they don't own the entire smartphone market.

          1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

            I am not defending what Apple are doing, just pointing out that there are alternatives. The situation with Windows is, IMO, slightly different. Windows was installed on most computers. I would argue that although devices running Android/iOS and compuiters running Linux (all flavours) and macOS have made huge inroads into the market, if you walk up to a strange PC and use it, the chances are you will be using some version of Windows. The problem came because while Microsoft never stopped you using other browsers, they did everything they could to ensure that as many people as possible used Internet Explorer, including trying to get technologies introduced server side that required both Windows and IE, because they required active x controls installed on the client computer, and the only browser that supported Active X was IE on Windows. While the Opera/EU vs Microsoft case was about installing browsers, it's telling that about the time this all happened, Microsoft started to reduce the reliance on particular browsers, and proprietary plug ins. I've never read the case, but I wonder if that was part of the settlement. It would certainly be in keeping with the

            case.

            Apple, aren't angels. They are perfectly capable of pulling the same sort of shit that Microsoft are. TBH, I think they are being anti competitive here by blocking services that compete with Apple Arcade . However, I would argue they are wrong. I would argue that Apple Arcade and Stadia/xcloud are aimed at different audiences as mobile gaming tends to be a more casual "pick it up, play' it, put it down kind of experience. Someone who is only interested in picking up a game on the train, playing it for a few minutes then doing something else isn't likely to be interested in paying over 10 pounds a month to play AAA console games. This is also one reason why I believe that cloud gaming services such as Stadia and Xcloud won't be as successful as people think.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      It's funny how people are accepting behaviours from Apple they won't accept from any other platform.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It's funny how SOME people are accepting behaviours from Apple they won't accept from any other platform."

        FTFY

        Anon because I work with a horde of frothing Fanbois and Fangurls to whom any suggestion that Apple are no better and no worse than their competitors is grounds for disembowlment with apple corers and staple removers.

    4. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      Bit of shame that every independent game developer I've seen comment on the subject has ranted about Apple's capricious attitude to what they can and can't do (subject to overnight change on whim) and also pointed out that a very large percentage of any crust they earn goes to, er, Apple.

    5. Steve Todd

      Given that

      Android outsells iOS in the mobile phone space by around 4:1 then its hard to make a case that Apple have a monopoly in other than iOS systems.

      What got MS into trouble was that they had a monopoly in PC operating systems (roughly 90% of the market), and they tried to leverage that to force themselves into other markets (like browsers for example, with the much reviled Internet Explorer versions upto (from memory) 6).

      Given that one of their USPs is that they do curate the App Store then it’s not wildly unreasonable that they do wield control over it and enforce restrictions on what may or may not be published.

  3. DS999 Silver badge

    If 95% of the usage is to watch livestreams

    They could release a version that only let you watch the livestreams.

  4. David 132 Silver badge

    Conflicted

    Apple vs Facebook & Microsoft!

    Root for the one you want to lose least!

    Winner goes on to fight the victor in the Wasps vs Scorpions fight!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conflicted

      Being punched in the face vs your new car being keyed vs talking to Jake

  5. Mark192

    "After months of submissions and repeated rejections by Apple, we’ve had to remove Instant Games entirely from the standalone app."

    Wow, after months of submissions, changing nothing, they still kept rejecting you?

    The usual plan of throwing lawyers at it or buying the company up isn't going to work either...

  6. herman Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Not for games

    Apple's argument is that the app is not really for playing games. Facebook still releasing it, without any games, proves the point.

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Not for games

      I think you have that backwards. Apple's argument is that the app is for playing games. Facebook have released it without games in order to prove their own point.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I don't understand ...

    What I don't understand is that with cloud streaming of games no game ever gets installed on the phone - so where is the thing bringing risk to the user that Apple are trying to protect them from?

    1. Mathman

      Re: What I don't understand ...

      The risk that Apple don't get a cut?

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: What I don't understand ...

      According to the second paragraph of the article, it is Facebook's "instant games" which run on Javascript within their app that is the reason for Apple's rejection.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What I don't understand ...

        "According to the second paragraph of the article, it is Facebook's "instant games" which run on Javascript within their app that is the reason for Apple's rejection."

        Indeed, but that is only Facebook. How does the same apply to Microsoft and Google?

        All that gets onto their device is the game streaming app, which can easily be vetted like any other. The fact that the thing being streamed is interactive in no way adds threat to their device. Effectively, interactive or not, it meets their own definition of a "reader" app - so it passes their criteria.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for Zuck

    to make his own mobile phone/tablet platform. Then he (as in Facebook etc) can suck the life out of everyone foolish enough to buy one of their things.

    That will let the rest of us (Facebook? Meh!) get on with life uninterruped by the fantasies of Zuck.

    Not all of us are followers of Zuck and good job too!

    yep... Facebook and all its domains are still blocked by my firewall and have been for over 3 years.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Time for Zuck

      The HTC One.

      It was a complete flop.

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