Microsoft xCloud will finally be available on iPad and iPhone thanks to the cloud-powered Xbox game streaming service coming to Safari.
After beta testing Xbox Cloud Gaming on Safari, Chrome and Edge, Microsoft announced (opens in new tab) a full release of xCloud will be ready to go live "in the next few weeks." That means Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers "will be a click away from gaming on almost any device," which now includes iOS and iPadOS gadgets.
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Microsoft initially tried to bring Xbox game streaming to Apple devices via the App Store. But things got messy when the app didn't comply with the platform's guidelines; Apple's App Store would have essentially required that each game available in the app be reviewed individually. By switching to a browser-based experience instead, Microsoft has managed to avoid the headache of Apple's rigid policies.
That does mean that the Xbox Game Pass app on iOS won't support the same in-app game streaming that it does on Android. But it will provide a way to stream some of the best Xbox Game Pass games to an iPad or iPhone, both of which support the Xbox Wireless Controller.
The news comes at a time when Microsoft has been extolling its efforts to ensure that Xbox Game Pass will come to "more screens." Not only is Game Pass coming to TVs, but the company is also working on its own streaming devices "for cloud gaming to reach gamers on any TV or monitor without the need for a console at all."
Given the situation around both the Xbox Series X restock and PS5 restock, gamers still desperately trying to get hold of the new consoles should be somewhat mollified by the news. Xbox boss Phil Spencer is keen on moving away from console hardware and focusing Xbox on the services that make its game library more accessible than ever.
"We believe that games, that interactive entertainment, aren’t really about hardware and software. It’s not about pixels. It’s about people. Games bring people together," said Spencer. "Games build bridges and forge bonds, generating mutual empathy among people all over the world. Joy and community — that’s why we’re here."
That's all well and good, but it's worth noting that you need a relatively robust internet connection or cellular broadband to stream Xbox games smoothly; 5Ghz Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection with a 10 Mbps download speeds is recommended by Microsoft. And such connections aren't easily available to all.
Still, Game Pass is arguably a must-have service for keen Xbox fans. Xbox game streaming is part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which offers more than 100 Xbox and PC games, old and new, to play. Plus, game saves sync between console, cloud and PC and you can currently join Game Pass for just $1 (opens in new tab), although caveats apply.