Apple kills workaround players were using to play Stadia games on Apple devices

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,640   +616
Staff member
TL;DR: The latest in Apple's war against cloud gaming comes in the form of squashing a workaround created by its own customers used to play Stadia on Apple devices. As of today, it has pulled the homebrewed web browser called Stadium that enabled users to use Google's game-streaming platform on the iPhone or iPad. The removal comes over a month after Apple initially approved and allowed it on the App Store.

Despite having said that it is not banning game-streaming apps from iPhones and iPads, Apple has made it so hard for services like Stadia, GeForce Now, and Xbox Game Pass to get into the App Store that it might as well have banned them outright. It has gotten so bad that even a former Apple executive contends that the Cupertino powerhouse is using its App Store policies as a weapon. Those still not convinced of this need only look at the latest of Apple's banned apps.

Last month, some Reddit users figured out a workaround to get Stadia working on Apple devices. It involved a homebrewed iOS browser called "Stadium" that allows those with Stadia account to login to the platform's web app and play through it. Of course, word got out that this was a viable workaround and so Apple slammed the door on it on Tuesday by pulling it from the App Store.

On Monday, Apple notified Zach Knox, Stadium's creator, that it would be removing Stadium because it uses WebKit APIs in a way that Apple does not allow (of course). Oddly, the infraction has nothing to do with the browser interacting with the Stadia service. Apple says that it violates terms by interaction with Bluetooth devices (e.g., controllers).

An Apple spokesperson responded to a request for comment from 9to5Google and explained the app's removal, saying that "Stadium uses public APIs in a way that Apple does not intend." The app apparently "extends WebKit" in a way that allows a website to access Bluetooth, something that Apple disallows for security purposes.

The rep points to section 2.5.1 of the App Store Review Guidelines and section 3.3.1 of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. These sections say that apps can only use APIs in the way that they were "intended." In other words, Apple has a clause allowing it to shut you down if it does not like your app while using the loosely defined interpretation of "intent" as the justification.

Apple subsequently pulled the Stadium app on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after giving Knox notice. Presumably, those who already installed Stadium can still use it. Although it has not said as much, it will not be surprising if we see a patch from Apple that disables Stadium's functionality on existing devices within the coming weeks. If not, Stadium is still dead in the water since Knox cannot patch it when a future Stadia update inevitably causes a conflict with the app.

Image credit: Moab Republic

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brucek

Posts: 577   +700
TechSpot Elite
Raising the public policy question, "Do we believe that manufacturers should have the right to restrict product usage to only the ways they intend" after sale?

This was never an issue in the evolution of our legal system, because there was no viable way to restrict the usage of a physical product once it was sold. But it will become an ever larger issue over time, because technology is reaching a point where the usage of everything can be locked down to the nth degree. One day there could be forks that require extra payments if you want to be able to use them with breakfast and lunch as well as dinner.

And in this specific case, the other general public policy workaround -- manufacturer competition -- appears to be highly impaired.

It will take time to work itself out but I believe we will get to a reasonable compromise in the long run.
 
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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,744   +3,636
Raising the public policy question, "Do we believe that manufacturers should have the right to restrict product usage to only the ways they intend" after sale?

The answer is simple:

If you don't like Apple products: don't buy them.

Someone one else will most likely make a product you want and you can buy that.

That's how the free market works.

That's how private contracts work.

As soon as you click yes on the EULA, you are in an ecosystem with rules.
 

brucek

Posts: 577   +700
TechSpot Elite
Sure that's a good start of explaining the framework modern companies and consumers do business in, you just left out the literally tens of thousands of pages of laws, regulations and precedents that further specify what is allowed and what is not, all of which collectively form the "public policy" I was talking about.

By the way, while I am a firm believer in the overall free market concept you are discussing, I will re-iterate the two points in my first post: 1) that concept was evolved and honed in a pre-digital world and some its core assumptions are no longer the same; and 2) the concept is predicated on the existence of competition to perform its key functions in regulating the market, and in Apple's case that existence is being questioned by multiple bodies in multiple countries.
 
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kiwigraeme

Posts: 165   +118
The answer is simple:

If you don't like Apple products: don't buy them.

Someone one else will most likely make a product you want and you can buy that.

That's how the free market works.

That's how private contracts work.

As soon as you click yes on the EULA, you are in an ecosystem with rules.

Well I haven't seen Apples Eula - but I imagine nearly no one reads it - lots go to 100s of pages.

Won't matter - I'm sure their Eula gives them the unilateral right to change any or all of it at anytime .

Thankfully outside of the USA a Corp can not BS it's way out of it's statutory requirements .

I have taken your advice and don't buy Apple ( except an IPAD for my sons schooling ) - simply because they have struck me as control freaks and exploiters for a long time and violates my principals - that's why I never visited places like North Korea - why would I give them money to not freely travel.
Apple violates the Tech Soul- it's for the folks who like Holiday Inns and MacDonalds in Foreign lands while safely ensconced behind the windows of the tour bus - while you watch rebels scrambling up hills, jumping in puddles or even just freely just strolling down the street - maybe even horrors of horrors J-walking ( man I laugh when I hear that is a moving violation in the USA )
 
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Goat11

Posts: 23   +50
The answer is simple:

If you don't like Apple products: don't buy them.

Someone one else will most likely make a product you want and you can buy that.

That's how the free market works.

That's how private contracts work.

As soon as you click yes on the EULA, you are in an ecosystem with rules.
Yea, but if they change the rules AFTER you purchase their device? (which they do ALL THE TIME).
This isn't just Apple, all major companies do that unfortunately.
 
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