Facebook has released their new Facebook Gaming app on iOS devices with one major caveat: it has no games.
Following the news that Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud were both barred from sale on the App Store due to Apple’s outdated policies, Facebook Gaming has revealed the reasons behind its late arrival on Apple products.
These small games have been removed from the iPhone and iPad versions after Facebook received months of rejection letters from Apple.
“Unfortunately, we had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple’s approval on the standalone Facebook Gaming app — meaning iOS users have an inferior experience to those using Android,” explained Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to The Verge.
“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.”
The app’s rejection from iOS has been attributed to App Store guideline 4.7, labelling the service as being published got the primary purpose of playing video games. Despite Facebook providing evidence that only 5% of user activity is spent gaming on the service, Apple refuses to budge.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has been forced to downplay games on its services for iOS. According to Facebook Gaming chief Vivek Sharma, Apple saw issues with the core Facebook applications including mini games.
“Even on the main Facebook app and Messenger, we’ve been forced to bury Instant Games for years on iOS,” Sharma said. “This is shared pain across the games industry, which ultimately hurts players and devs and severely hamstrings innovation on mobile for other types of formats, like cloud gaming.”