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Apple Blocks Steam's Plan To Extend Its Video Games To iPhones (reuters.com) 202

Citing "business conflicts," Apple has blocked Steam's plans to distribute PC-based video games to iPhones. It's "a sign that Apple is serious about protecting its ability to take a cut of digital purchases made inside games on its mobile devices," reports Reuters. From the report: Steam, the dominant online store for downloaded games played on Windows PCs, had planned to release a free mobile phone app called Steam Link so that gamers could continue playing on their mobile phones while away from their desktop machines. But Apple has rejected the app, blocking its release, according to a statement from Steam's parent company, the Bellevue, Washington-based Valve. Steam did not give a precise reason for the App Store denials, saying only that Apple cited "business conflicts with app guidelines." But the conflict likely centers on what are known as in-app purchases or micro-transactions, in which gamers can spend small sums of money inside games to buy tokens, extra lives or others so-called digital goods. Lombardi said Steam disabled purchasing its iOS app but did not elaborate on how the change was made. Many analysts believe Apple could lose revenue if they allow Steam's app, which is essentially a store-within-a-store. "Apple takes a 30 percent cut of such purchases made within apps distributed through its App Store," Reuters notes. "[T]hose purchases are among the primary drivers of revenue in Apple's services business."
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Apple Blocks Steam's Plan To Extend Its Video Games To iPhones

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  • Anti competitive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jwymanm ( 627857 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @09:08AM (#56672424) Homepage
    This is the real reason Apple is so locked down. To keep the money funnel going. You can't fault a company for doing this but it is seriously anti competitive in nature. It's the only reason I stick with Android too since you can still side load (for how much longer don't know).
    • Re: Anti competitive (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @09:17AM (#56672478) Journal
      I can and do fault people who give their money for this locked down, anti-freedom system. It is true that many people do not understand the issues, but a lot of techies do (or should) and buy this stuff anyway. Despite repeated examples of why it's a bad idea, they allow themselves to be locked into a platform. "This time will be different" or some such nonsense. Well, here is a good example of why it's bad, right here. This time is not different.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The problem is which do you choose? A company that locks you in to their platform, but generally respects your privacy (at least to our knowledge), or a company that's far less locked down, but pisses all over your privacy. I'm currently on Android, but Google is seriously pissing me off and I start wondering if Apple might be better.

        • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @09:48AM (#56672640) Journal

          A company that locks you in to their platform, but generally respects your privacy (at least to our knowledge), or a company that's far less locked down, but pisses all over your privacy.

          You can do something about the privacy problem. You can't do much about the lockdown problem.

        • The problem is which do you choose? A company that locks you in to their platform, but generally respects your privacy (at least to our knowledge), or a company that's far less locked down, but pisses all over your privacy.

          Choose neither. I'll put my N900 to rest literally today (unless the delivery critter with Gemini is delayed again), then there you have Sailfish and some other niche stuff. Or even some AOSP builds if you want near-Android.

          Gemini ships dual-booting Android and Debian, but you can guess how many times I'm going to boot Google-Spyware before running mkfs on that partition (hint: I'm a honking DD, so I'm a wee bit biased towards one of these boot options).

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            I'm a honking DD

            double-dipper?
            bra size?
            designated driver?
            navy destroyer?
            daily diapers?

            Actually, save your sanity, don't check that last one.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              A Debian Developer is one step above Debian Maintainer in the Debian power structure. Becoming a DD requires, among other things, flying to a key signing party to meet other Debian Developers.

              • by Cederic ( 9623 )

                Fair enough, but quite obscure for those of us that don't track the political structures of every open source group out there.

        • The locked down company that puts their profits ahead of your usage is definitely the worst of two evils. At least the invasion of privacy can be mitigated in some ways and it doesn't directly affect me since my life isn't all that exciting that I would warrant specific attention. Even if I had nudes on my phone I'm pretty sure no one would want them!
          • It's getting increasingly difficult to mitigate the privacy issues with google. Google Play store is now like a virus for Android. Half the things won't work without it.

            I have an AOSP phone with fdroid only, it functions, but many manufacturers are making their android phones act completely broken when attempting this. Camera sucks ass, or some other quirks. Also, the apps are still limited on fdroid, many developers, including open source developers keep their latest version on the play store and completel

          • The locked down company that puts their profits ahead of your usage

            For values of "usage" that include playing PC games remotely on a phone. Fluffy, you are a hoot and a half.

        • The problem is which do you choose? A company that locks you in to their platform, but generally respects your privacy (at least to our knowledge), or a company that's far less locked down, but pisses all over your privacy. I'm currently on Android, but Google is seriously pissing me off and I start wondering if Apple might be better.

          Clue: They are.

      • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @10:53AM (#56672984)

        Or maybe... just maybe... us techies arn't one-issue-voters. Maybe we bought Apple because we looked at all the options and variables, compared them to our needs, and decided that an Apple device was the best choice for what we needed.

        The unescapable fact is that, despite being a bunch of obnoxious, money-grubbing control-freaks who seem to have completely lost their marbles in recent years, their devices are still vastly superior to Android in many critical aspects:

        -They actually support their devices, on average of about 5 years. Android? You're *lucky* if you get two. Most give you the finger as soon as they have your money.
        -Overwhelmingly lower incidents of malware. While not perfect, they've done a significantly better job of keeping malware out than Google has.
        -I don't have to put my sysadmin hat on just to use a freaking phone. The idea that I need to worry about resource management, for example, is offensive to me. It's a f__king *phone*.
        -Overwhelmingly better privacy features than Android. Again, not perfect, but lightyears ahead of Androids, "This flashlight app requires access to your entire contact list and you can't do anything about if you didn't notice that permission during install."

        For me personally: Siri. I use this a lot. I use it for making music selections, sending text messages, making phone calls, etc. The last time I used the Google equivalent, it was effectively useless, and from what people have told me recently, it hasn't gotten any better. Maybe they saved all the good stuff for their home device products? Don't know, don't care.

        There are some aspects, in fact a lot, of aspects to iOS and the way Apple carries themselves that frustrate me. But when taken in aggregate, Apple is still the superior device to use than anything the Android ecosystem has to offer.

        Google has made great strides in improve Android. They've improved privacy, introduced deep sleep features, and most recently, Project Treble. But I'm the kind of person who does not rely on a company's future promises, so I am waiting to see if all these new features actually live up to expectations before I even consider jumping ship.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Cederic ( 9623 )

          You're a fucking comedian.

          support - never had an android device go out of support before I replaced it
          malware - never had any, ever, on android. Getting less on iOS would be tricky
          flashlight - hit the 'flashlight' button that's built into the OS and it turns on the camera light. No permission changes required
          privacy - so you want privacy but you use Siri. Thanks, I needed the laugh.

          But when taken in aggregate, Apple is still the superior device to use

          That's subjective, and I disagree. E.g. I can't actually use an Apple device because it refuses to let me run the software I wa

          • malware - never had any, ever, on android.

            And you know that because? Is it because you use android instead of Android?

          • Woooooooooooow, how you got modded informative is beyond me when you didn't give one single piece of concrete info in your entire post.

            support - never had an android device go out of support before I replaced it

            What does that even mean? You replace your phone yearly? Monthly?

            The verifiable fact that the overwhelming majority of android manufacturers do not put out ANY updates at all. Once you buy their device, you're SOL unless there's a demonstrable hardware failure. Of the handful of major android manufacturers out there, a tiny few of those collectively agreed to provide 2 y

        • You are an Apple fanboy. Come back when you turn your brain back on.
          • Really? And how many brain cells did you need to rub together to come up with that brilliant bit of prose? Not a heck of a lot, I'd wager.

            Just because you are too stupid to understand that different people have different needs and requirements, doesn't make me an Apple fan. If you had even bothered looking at my post history, you would know that I am absolutely NOT an Apple fan. In fact, I am extremely critical of Apple, and my current iPhone may well be my last Apple device if they don't pull their hea

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        I think even geeks want appliances. Most of the things around me are neither open source software nor open source hardware, my microwave works the way it works and as long as it's not outright defective the only reasonable choice I have if I'm unhappy with it is to go down to the store and buy a new one from a different brand. Now I'm sure RMS would say I should be able to make and install my own enhancements and bug fixes and the 3D printing fans would say I should be able to make my own parts, but for me

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyDFzTOvfTk

        It is amazing how many techies buy into this closed eco system, but even more so, how so many enviro hippie leftists do. I love seeing riot photos of them breaking into a Starbucks holding iPhones. Apple couldn't be any more anti-freedom. It has always been, since the start, the anti-choice choice. Their hardware/software for years was so closed. OS X seemed a hopeful bright spot but then we got Cloud Services and they knew they had us.

        Example: try to share a mass

    • You can't fault a company for doing this but it is seriously anti competitive in nature.

      It's over the whole idea of software ownership can't exist now that everyone has high speed internet. The tech industry always hated their customers having control over their devices and software we've literally been robbed because 90% of the general public are illiterate and morons especially when it comes to gaming. Videogame history won't exist esp with those gacha games and android f2p games. Games will simply disappear and "go dark" forever. It's a fucking tragedy. The "market" is over largely bec

    • This is the real reason Apple is so locked down. To keep the money funnel going. You can't fault a company for doing this but it is seriously anti competitive in nature. It's the only reason I stick with Android too since you can still side load (for how much longer don't know).

      There are a LOT of things MS has never released for Apple, too. Shall I enumerate?

      It's Apple's platform, and Apple's App Store.

      And you can Side Load on iOS since iOS 8, nearly 4 years ago. Please DO try to keep up!

      Go on GitHub. There is a vibrant Open Source iOS Community, with dozens, if not HUNDREDS of Apps.

      Then there's Cydia Impactor, which allows even people WITHOUT a Mac to Sideload Apps that are published to '.ipa' files. This does NOT require Jailbreaking!

      https://www.modmy.com/here-how... [modmy.com]

      And there ar

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      If Steam proves popular enough on Android and/or they come to some kind of arrangement apple may eventually fold.

  • Confusing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TraumaFox ( 1667643 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @09:17AM (#56672474)
    I don't understand any of the logic here. Steam already exists as a smartphone app which allows me to access the Steam store, purchase games, and even remotely install them on my PC, so obviously the "store within a store" reasoning is already moot. Steam Link is just a thing that would let me stream the video/audio of a game playing on my PC to another device, in this case my iPhone/iPad. Arguing that Steam Link on its own somehow constitutes competing with the App Store is nonsense; I could do the same thing with any other remote desktop app, and in either case the playable library is going to be very limited by the lack of control options on a smartphone, more or less forcing me to use an external input device anyway. I am still required to be on the same local network and still have to run these games on my PC in order to stream them, so the only real function of the Steam Link app is extending my PC's display to a mobile screen.
    • The difference here is the composition of two separate technologies (content purchasing and content streaming) into a single application that would reduce Apple's grip on the portable entertainment marketplace.

      If some pre-existing "screen sharing" app were to suddenly incorporate a way to purchase applications and games to be remotely accessed by the screen sharing app, Apple would take a similar stance.

      • Re:Confusing (Score:5, Informative)

        by TraumaFox ( 1667643 ) on Friday May 25, 2018 @09:48AM (#56672638)

        According to the article, Steam Link would have been a separate application solely for streaming games. Even if both apps were consolidated, the notion that I'd be buying games "for my phone" is still wrong, because the only way for this to work is through a PC which again only lets me use my Apple device as a remote screen within my own house. In reality, the Steam Link app was more likely intended for iPads to benefit from a larger screen and an attached keyboard. It would have been a simple convenience for existing Steam users, nothing more.

        It should also be pointed out that Steam is available for purchasing and playing games directly on Mac OS.

      • If some pre-existing "screen sharing" app were to suddenly incorporate a way to purchase applications and games to be remotely accessed by the screen sharing app, Apple would take a similar stance.

        You mean like opening a browser within the screen sharing app and buying something that way? Is VNC banned on iPhones?

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      If you think back there was a lot of buzz around some similar issues for Kindle. As a non-Apple user I'm not sure they ever resolved the issue allowing users to purchase books from their iCrap.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I don't understand any of the logic here. Steam already exists as a smartphone app which allows me to access the Steam store, purchase games, and even remotely install them on my PC, so obviously the "store within a store" reasoning is already moot. Steam Link is just a thing that would let me stream the video/audio of a game playing on my PC to another device, in this case my iPhone/iPad. Arguing that Steam Link on its own somehow constitutes competing with the App Store is nonsense; I could do the same thing with any other remote desktop app, and in either case the playable library is going to be very limited by the lack of control options on a smartphone, more or less forcing me to use an external input device anyway. I am still required to be on the same local network and still have to run these games on my PC in order to stream them, so the only real function of the Steam Link app is extending my PC's display to a mobile screen.

      If it works, it means less revenue from Apple selling you games through their app store.

  • I find it curious that when Google or MS actively prevent any competitive service on their products the Apple fanbois scream anti-trust. However Apple has a pretty good chuck of the mobile market in terms of manufacturers and routinely and actively prevents competitive products.
    Every tried to use Google maps or Waze with carplay? Nope. Terms and conditions say you are not allowed to make a navi platform for it.
    Alternative app store? Nope. Not allowed.

    I could not personally care any less about the restrictio

    • I find it curious that when Google or MS actively prevent any competitive service on their products the Apple fanbois scream anti-trust. However Apple has a pretty good chuck of the mobile market in terms of manufacturers and routinely and actively prevents competitive products. Every tried to use Google maps or Waze with carplay? Nope. Terms and conditions say you are not allowed to make a navi platform for it. Alternative app store? Nope. Not allowed.

      I could not personally care any less about the restrictions on Apple products since I do not use them. It's just silly though that Android gets anti-trust lawsuits when Apple is far more anti-competition in their actions.

      Quite frankly, as long as I have a Bluetooth access point in my car with a relatively new Bluetooth version, I could not care less about Car Play or any other in-car entertainment system. I just hook up my cellphone to the Bluetooth link, stick the smartphone/tablet in a holder with a built-in wireless charger and use the gadget which then becomes my in-car entertainment and navigation system. The only down side is a bit of audio lag due to buffering in the car's audio system and the fact that Bluetooth aud

  • Well, what I think you'll find here is that when money comes into the equation, neither / both sides share fault in what's going on, and you're being marketed to using "principles" while it's just a hidden contract dispute. So don't buy the "it's Apple trying to maintain a closed ecosystem" hype, etc. It's a little bit of that, but more about just the payment terms.

    Take as an analogy the periodic squabbles, for example, between MLB, or NFL or whatever league and the cables companies not broadcasting the
    • Seriously? Look up antitrust. Apple is preventing Steam's app on their phone because they fear losing profits. Sorry but Apple can't do that. It's against the law.

      Do some research before posting.
  • Yeah, but at least their hardware looks good and isn't as powerful and costs a lot.

  • I'm sure the jailbreakers will appreciate it.

  • Sorry Apple this is clear antitrust violation. You can't prevent STEAM from having an app on your phone because you fear a loss of profits. That's competition. You already allow other vender's apps on your phone. That's called precedence. Suck it up or fuck off.
  • Reminds me of arguments about who owns inventions an invented AI invents.

    Can Apple get a cut of in-store-in-store sales? How deep does it go?

  • OK, so I can buy a cheaper phone, (probably Android) and get...replaceable batteries, SD-card reader, dual SIM, headphone jack (insert standard /. anti-Apple bitch-list here)
    Then (even without side-loading) install pretty much what I want; with more choice.

    (Android apps: 3.5 million; iOS apps: 2.2 million.)

    Or, I can pay much more, and get less choice.

    Huh?

    Typing this as someone who has both types of devices, and actually in general much prefer iOS.

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