Starting September 15th, Project xCloud – Microsoft’s new game-based streaming service – will go live as an add-on to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at no additional charge. Project xCloud aims to allow users to instantly stream hundreds of games on their Xbox, PC or even their Android mobile device, without the need for a physical disc or download.
As you might expect, the big draw of this service is it allows mobile gamers to play Xbox and PC games without investing in more pricey hardware. Plus, since it’s now pretty clear the Xbox Series X won’t be copying the Nintendo Switch’s handheld/TV approach, this is Xbox players’ best portable option. And with new peripherals like the Razer Kishi hitting the market this year, it seems like mobile gaming is about to take a massive step forward.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a premium streaming service that allows you to play over 100 titles on your console or PC for a flat monthly fee of $14.99. Microsoft is currently offering the first month for just $1, so you can try out both Game Pass and xCloud before paying full price.
Everything We Know About Project xCloud
Project xCloud is still in the preview phase, although it is no longer taking new testers. The preview will officially end on September 11th, just days before the service is integrated into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Microsoft has announced not all games available during the preview phase will be playable via Project xCloud, so take that into account if you’re part of the preview. Project xCloud will only be available on Android devices at launch, although it is expected to arrive on iOS sometime in the future.
Every game on Project xCloud will be streamed directly from Microsoft’s servers using Azure Cloud architecture. With 50+ Azure servers currently set up around the globe, Microsoft is aiming to make this a worldwide service. You’ll be able to access your Xbox account wherever there is a steady internet connection, providing a truly untethered gaming experience.
One sticking point is the quality of visuals. Microsoft has been coy regarding Project xCloud’s resolution capabilities, and it’s likely games won’t be rendered in full 4K, even if your phone is theoretically 4K-capable. This could change in the future, but it’s probably best to curb your enthusiasm if you’re expecting to be blown away by the graphics on your mobile device.
If you have a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controller, you’ll be able to pair that to your device and use it to play games with Project xCloud. Each game will also have a unique touch-screen control options optimized for that particular game.
While the library of Project xCloud might be limited in the beginning, Microsoft’s stated goal is to bring all Xbox games to the service eventually. That’s over 3,000 titles at the moment, and that number is expected to grow with the release of the Xbox Series X.
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