On November 19, at 17:XNUMX Moscow time, the embargo on a seemingly rather local and specific news went down, rumors about which leaked into the network three weeks ago – Nvidia was the first (Google and Microsoft are resting) to implement a mechanism how to enable iOS users to launch game streaming services. It would seem “well done and done, what is it?” However, there are different interpretations of this event.
- Option 1. Apple is defeated, its bans have been bypassed, Tim Cook is biting his elbows, as an insignificant event with the launch of streaming games, like a pebble rolling from the top, can cause a real landslide on both the iOS and Android markets. After this rockfall, the platform component may lose its importance even more, and corporations will fall in income. Or, on the contrary, the switch of monopoly will be turned to the maximum so that no one dares to squeak.
- Option 2. Apple prohibits and permits only what is beneficial to it.
Let everyone make their own conclusions. However, let’s go through it in order.
The text mentions a landslide, but here is a nuthatch (such a bird) to make Friday more fun
- What did Nvidia do?
- How Apple makes money
- What did Apple come up with?
- What can this result in?
What did Nvidia do?
Nvidia is the creator of the most successful game streaming service to date, GeForce Now, which, unlike its competitors, is also available worldwide.
The latter became possible due to the fact that the company not only promotes the service itself, but offers to buy from it, relatively speaking, a turnkey business, selling both hardware and technology. The gaming streaming sphere has a high entry threshold, since, in addition to high-speed and powerful Internet, data centers are also needed. And these data centers should not be too far from the players, otherwise lags and delays are inevitable. Accordingly, this is one of the reasons why the same Google Stadia will not come to Russia soon. The world map shows the countries where the service is available, and data centers are highlighted by dots.
It makes sense that due to this prevalence, GeForce Now is the most popular streaming service in the world with 5 million users. For comparison, Google Stadia at the end of spring this year had, according to third-party companies, only 1 million users (there is a question to the figure, since it seems that Google itself did not mark such a pleasant number even with a blog post).
Accessing iOS users is a pretty important goal. It is well known that this is the most solvent and benevolent audience, which will not be embarrassed by the fact that it is necessary to pay for access to the service (infrastructure) and buy games.
By the way, the good news is that more game stores will support GeForce Now. Next in line are COGs (I like them because they often have the best price!)
And now Nvidia has done it. The company was the very first among competitors to implement access to its service on iOS, that is, on the iPhone and iPad. It is still beta access, but users will be able to connect to GeForce Now through the Safari browser and play any games up to Fortnite (as you remember, due to violations, Apple kicked the game creator Epic Games from the app store).
Most streaming games are still geared towards a gamepad or mouse and keyboard. There are virtual control buttons, of course, but this is not the most intuitive option. However, Epic Games is working on a dedicated streaming version of Fortnite aimed at playing from the phone. For this reason, Fortnite’s release on iOS Safari has been slightly delayed. But then everything will be as good as possible.
I hate to say that Nvidia’s nimbleness and courage defeated Apple’s greed and the company received a painful slap. But let’s take a look at the situation from Apple.
How Apple makes money
Here we will discard the question of selling hardware, and talk only about the software component.
Apple’s wealth (as well as Google’s) is built on the fact that it is the owner of the platform. Apple does its best to make its platform seductive for those who want to access it. Everyone is well aware of the facts that the most solvent audience is sitting on iOS and macOS, which does not grumble about prices, does not try to find workarounds, but simply pays. Apple strongly supports this image, regularly revealing how many billions of money it paid out to app developers.
However, it should be understood that, based on Apple’s business model, the success of a particular developer is not important, the company is interested in the total cash flow from which it takes 30% as a commission (from January 1, 2021, for companies with revenue of up to $ 1 million, the commission will be reduced up to 15%).
Jobs writes that you need to keep your head high and iBooks should be the only bookstore on iOS devices, because you can’t buy something on iOS without paying us (that is, Apple)
Along the way, the company acts as a regulator. She constantly monitors potentially profitable niches, after which she releases her own versions. The most prominent examples are magazines (Apple News +) and books. Steve Jobs explained everything about books in a correspondence with Phil Schiller, who was in charge of marketing. Accordingly, success is based on strict control so that not a single cent is wasted.
Another striking banning story is the Google Chrome browser. It should be understood that there is only one browser on iOS – and that is Safari. Google Chrome on iOS is Safari with an interface design from Google Chrome. The same applies to other browsers available on iOS. All of this is Safari’s WebKit engine, but in different skins.
From a formal point of view, this is done in order to provide the best user experience and security, as well as to ensure that the third party does not get any information (which can be used for advertising purposes) about users. If you want advertising on iOS, then come to Apple, and she herself does the targeting. Essentially, Apple is simply in control of what happens on its platform.
However, it came as a complete surprise that Apple has banned gaming streaming platforms on iOS. Google Stadia, Microsoft’s Game Pass, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now have all found themselves unable to place client software on the AppStore.
Needless to say, it was a business frustration. A wealthy audience was taken away from streaming.
Apple explained the ban by the fact that each published application is subjected to rigorous analysis according to various criteria. And games that users could run through streaming, no one brought Apple for approval. And there may be violations such as a level of user experience that does not meet Apple’s standards, or, for example, an in-game shopping store from which Apple will not be able to withhold the legal 30% (and from January 1, 2021, 15%).
This whole situation was superimposed on the confrontation with Epic Games, as a result of which the very popular game Fortnite disappeared from the AppStore. A side effect of the war was lots on eBay, which offered to buy an iPhone with the game installed.
Everyone puts the prices at their discretion, but in any case, you will have to overpay
Because of one game, no one will give up the iPhone, but in any case, the situation looks ugly, so Apple faced and still faces a serious task of how to ensure everyone’s happiness and at the same time not compromise principles. You understand what will happen if you create a precedent that Apple can and should be squeezed out.
What did Apple come up with?
Apple has a clear set of rules – the App Store Review Guidelines, available to everyone for review, in which paragraph 4.9 clearly describes everything related to streaming games.
This paragraph appeared in September of this year, and especially attracts attention of the sentence: “Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.” that are available to all users (read – suppliers) not from the App Store). Nice phrase, right?
In the 30s of the last century, that is, during the “Prohibition” in the United States, Californian businessmen came up with the idea of selling briquettes of dry wine disguised as grape juice. And on the packaging they wrote a sequence of actions, which in no case should have been repeated in order not to get wine, which was illegal. Here is a phrase from the instruction from the same opera. In fact, this is a direct hint and blessing for activity.
And then they suggest adding sodium benzonate in order to prevent the fermentation process, otherwise it will ferment and you will get wine!
Here, by the way, it will be necessary to see how everything will be implemented. The same story about Google Chrome immediately pops into my memory. When it first appeared on iOS in 2012, it was eerily slow compared to Safari. And this despite the fact that, in fact, apart from the “skin”, there were no differences between browsers. It wasn’t until the end of 2016 that Chrome managed to catch up with Safari. So Apple has a lot of experience in how to shut off oxygen so that you can not dig into it.
What can this result in?
The simplest and most obvious conclusion. Despite its phenomenal nature and 300 million players worldwide, for 1 billion iOS users, the disappearance of the game is a small event. Most of them play from computers and consoles. And then it turned out to come up with something to make the ardent Fortnite fans happy, and they stopped messing with the water.
The second conclusion is happiness for Nvidia, since it is access to a paying audience. The first hour of the game is free, and then maybe they will subscribe to the game! And here we are talking not only about Fortnite, but in general about different games. Well, those who say that playing with the iPhone is inconvenient, let them not forget that, firstly, the screens have become larger, and secondly, there is an iPad!
The third takeaway is happiness for Epic Games, as Fortnite is the golden chicken.
The fourth takeaway is that the quality of game streaming depends on many factors, and it is difficult to ensure a 100% positive gaming experience. Formally, Apple disclaims responsibility, since users themselves do something there in the browser, and Apple has nothing to do with it. Nice move. If there were an application, then many would blame Apple for the bugs, regardless of internet speed or other influencing factors.
Fifth, Apple has been able to smooth corners without compromising on principles.
And then a thought may arise: now you can start bypassing any applications and games through a web browser. The monopoly is defeated, let’s open the champagne and call the lecherous ladies! In my opinion, this is absolutely not the case. On the Apple side, there is a clear guideline, and the point about web launching of applications applies only to streaming game services. I could not find a formal ban on launching other applications via the web, but there is no permission (as is the case with games), so everything is at the discretion of Apple. Everything is in the best traditions: you can walk and do anything that is not prohibited.
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