GeForce Now could be coming to iOS via browser support which will enable games like the stricken "Fortnite" to return to the iPhone.
The ongoing battle between Apple and Epic has caused a spotlight to shine on Apple's App Store policies. One recent policy that came under fire is game streaming and availability on the iPhone and iPad.
Apple says that game streaming is allowed on iOS as long as the service functions with existing apps on the App Store, so even games being streamed will need some kind of shell app to launch. Individual services can create their own catalog apps, but they can only act as launchers for the other gaming apps — or placeholders for streaming — already present in the store.
According to the BBC, the streaming service GeForce Now has developed a version that runs on mobile Safari. If true, users could access the service and play the entire catalog of games without downloading an app or accessing the App Store.
In-browser gaming does work on iOS, as Facebook Games has shown. Playing a game within the browser may be tricky though, as some games will require a controller. There is a controller API that taps into the Stadia controller on Safari for desktop, but mobile likely does not support that function. This means that GeForce Now will have to implement in-browser touch controls or attempt a workaround for controller or keyboard use.
Facebook Games currently uses touch for mobile Safari with no apparent controller support. So playing games on GeForce Now will likely do the same with a virtual control pad on-display or other workaround.
The Xbox streaming service xCloud could come to iOS in a similar fashion, via the browser. Though again, details are scarce and controller implementation seems to be a big hurdle.
Apple will likely not be supportive of gaming in the mobile browser, as it bypasses all of their rules around game streaming and eliminates the App Store entirely. Don't expect Apple to play friendly with these services to enable better experiences in the future.
Update November 5, 11:07AM: Game controllers are supported on iOS Safari, and users can see this functionality work by going to gamepad-tester.