Facebook Gaming has launched a standalone app for iOS devices after it was initially rejected.
However, while it may be good news for fans of Facebook Gaming, there is also a downside to the announcement. The company was forced to remove Instant Games from the application to get it past Apple's strict App Store policies. As a result, those who do download the app for iOS devices will "have an inferior experience to those using Android." It became available through Google Play back in April.
"Gaming brings people together. And that's even more important today amidst the pandemic. 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," said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
"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."
A pained decision
Facebook Gaming vice president Vivek Sharma acknowledged that strict terms enforced by Apple have put a strain on the games industry, as many developers and players suffer for it with some apps not reaching their full potential through the App Store.
"Even on the main Facebook app and Messenger, we've been forced to bury instant games for years on iOS. 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. And while it's disheartening to deliver only part of the Facebook Gaming app experience on iOS, our gaming creators have asked for it for awhile. We thank them for waiting this long."
Of course, it is not just Facebook Gaming that has faced struggles with Apple and its policies. Recently, Microsoft's cloud gaming service Project xCloud was denied a place on the storefront, with the iOS creator stating that all games need to be reviewed individually as the reason.