Microsoft has shared some details about the road map for its cloud gaming service. In addition to Android devices, the company confirms that it plans to add support for more platforms. In spring 2021, Microsoft will launch its cloud gaming service on iOS and on computers.
Originally called Project xCloud, Microsoft’s cloud gaming service lets you play Xbox games on non-Xbox devices. The games run on a server in a data center near you. The video is streamed to your device, and your interactions are relayed to the server in real time.
Xbox cloud gaming isn’t a separate subscription. People who subscribe to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $14.99 per month can access cloud gaming as part of their subscription. The plan also includes access to a library of games, EA Play and Xbox Live Gold.
When it comes to new devices, you’ll soon be able to launch a game on Xbox cloud gaming from a PC. The service will be available in the Xbox app and using a web browser.
While you can download games to your PC if you’re an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, cloud gaming is going to be particularly useful for people who don’t have a powerful GPU in their computer. It’s going to be interesting to see whether Microsoft limits its service to web browsers running on Windows computers. I’m sure many people would like to access the service from a Mac as well.
As for iOS, Microsoft will launch cloud gaming through web browsers exclusively due to restrictive App Store rules. Nvidia already launched a beta version GeForce Now for iOS web browsers. I tried Nvidia’s service from an iPhone and an iPad, and the web browser workaround works really well.
If you have an Android phone or tablet, Xbox cloud gaming is already accessible from the Xbox Game Pass app. Your experience will greatly vary depending on your internet connection and the quality of your Wi-Fi network.
You also need to be located near a data center to minimize latency. That’s why Xbox cloud gaming is only accessible in a handful of countries — mostly the U.S., Canada, South Korea and part of Europe.
In its blog post, Microsoft says that the company is opening more data centers and expanding to new markets. You can expect Xbox cloud gaming in Australia, Brazil, Japan and Mexico soon.