Microsoft is playing its cards right with the new Xbox consoles as well as its cloud gaming service. The latter is currently limited to Android devices and is available to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers as part of the package. Microsoft did express its intentions to bring cloud gaming to PC and iOS platform, and thanks to a recent report, the PC version is already under testing. The Xbox gaming experience could soon be coming to your screen without the need for any additional hardware. Also Read - Psychonauts 2 review: Interesting new plot, same old fun
According to a report from The Verge, sources from the Xbox team have leaked some details on the web version of the Xbox cloud gaming service. All Xbox games will be available to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers via a web portal, similar to how Google’s Stadia is available to the lot. Microsoft employees currently testing the service can access their Xbox games via Chrome and Edge. Also Read - India gets the Xbox Series X Halo Infinite Limited Edition console: Will it be available this time?
Xbox xCloud gaming service comes to PCs, iOS devices
The Xbox Cloud Gaming service is currently under testing phase and there’s no hint on a commercial rollout yet. However, the web-based version looks promising, and based on the revelations by “Microsoft’s sources”, it could challenge the Google Stadia. It could also pave way for Game Pass subscribers to access their games on iPhones and iPads. Also Read - Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (Xbox Series X|S) review: Sit back, relax and enjoy
Some of the shared screenshots show the web version offering a simple launcher interface. It shows recommendations for games, resuming recently played titles, and a menu-based interface for all the cloud games available via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Clicking on a game opens it up in fullscreen and users will require a controller to play.
A lot of the details are still under the carpet. For example, it is unclear as to what resolution are the games running on. Given that the xCloud servers are based on the same hardware as the old Xbox One S, we doubt one could play 4K games. Microsoft previously confirmed that the xCloud gaming servers will be upgraded to the equivalent of the Xbox Series X, which should bring native support for 4K gaming at 60 fps.
The arrival of Xbox Cloud Gaming on web browsers will make it possible to offer the service to iPhone and iPad users. Apple previously banned all cloud-based streaming services on its iOS platform on the basis of App store guidelines violation and required developers to submit games individually for review. While Microsoft can’t float a dedicated app, it can open up a way for players to access the service via a web browser; something which Apple can’t ban.
The sources suggest that Microsoft may open up a public preview of the Xbox Cloud Gaming web version in spring. The testing might go on for a while but we expect the service to roll out commercially later this year.
Apart from iOS devices, Windows 10 PCs are also supposed to get access to the xCloud service via the Xbox app. Currently, the service is only available to Chromium-based browsers but by the time it launches, there could be no browser requirements for players to comply.