Apple App Store opens up to game streaming including Nvidia's GeForce Now

iPhone gaming
(Image credit: Future)

Depending on how you measure, you could argue that Apple's iPhones are the world's most popular gaming devices, what with well over two billion of the things sold and an ongoing installed userbase of nearly a billion. But conspicuously absent from the iPhone's App Store has been game streaming services. Until now.

You'd think allowing game streaming on iPhones would be a bit of a no brainer. But in its wisdom, Apple has effectively been restricting it to web browsers on iOS devices. That changes today. The news also gives Nvidia a way back into Apple devices after a near decade-long absence.

“Developers can now submit a single app with the capability to stream all of the games offered in their catalog,” Apple says (via The Verge), adding that the new policy applies worldwide.

Previously, Apple has allowed game streaming apps, but only on a per-title basis. The big change here is allowance for a single app offering a library of games to stream.

Curation will be tricky given Apple's broader App Store policy. "Each experience made available in an app on the App Store will be required to adhere to all App Store Review Guidelines and its host app will need to maintain an age rating of the highest age-rated content included in the app."

On that basis, we suspect the range of games made available by any streaming service to be somewhat edited. Or perhaps those services will offer separate versions for kids and adults.

Whatever, the other obvious upshot of all this is that this finally gives Nvidia an in on the iPhone and other iOS devices like the iPad. Nvidia's strained relationship with Apple is well documented. Indeed, the last Apple Mac available with an Nvidia GPU vanished in 2015, nearly a decade ago.

Since then, Apple preferred AMD for its bought-in GPUs and more recently has been carving out its own niche with integrated graphics built in to its in-house Apple "M" silicon, starting with the M1 chip in 2020.

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But now Nvidia can wheel out an Apple-specific version of its GeForce Now streaming platform and thus return officially sanctioned and Nvidia's powered gaming to an Apple platform.

Exactly how popular this will prove remains to be seen. But the sheer scale of Apple's installed base means there will be quite a bit of overlap between PC gamers and iPhone users. So, it all makes for an intriguing alternative to coughing up $600 or so for a dedicated handheld like the Steam Deck or Asus ROG Ally.

Of course, for now there's no official announcement from Nvidia. While it seems like an obvious opportunity, equally we wouldn't be surprised if Nvidia's strained history with Apple got in the way of what seems like a simple business decision. Watch this space.

Jeremy Laird
Hardware writer

Jeremy has been writing about technology and PCs since the 90nm Netburst era (Google it!) and enjoys nothing more than a serious dissertation on the finer points of monitor input lag and overshoot followed by a forensic examination of advanced lithography. Or maybe he just likes machines that go “ping!” He also has a thing for tennis and cars.