Is Xbox Game Pass coming to iPhone? Microsoft says 'we will get there'

Xbox Game Pass iPhone
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Never fear, iOS users interested in cloud gaming. It appears Microsoft will be bringing Xbox Game Pass streaming to iPhones and iPads in the near future after all. Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is continuing to have "ongoing discussions" regarding current App Store rules that have prevented cloud gaming enthusiasts from getting to enjoy the service on iOS devices. 

According to Xbox chief Phil Spencer, the team is now "committed to bringing xCloud to all mobile endpoints, including Apple's big ecosystem." There's no pending date for release or for when iOS users may finally get to join the streaming party, but Spencer says "they can just know we will get there" of those clamoring for support on their devices. 

Xbox game streaming is currently limited to Android devices. Due to Apple blocking games that stream via the web on iOS, Microsoft, Google, and Nvidia were stymied – they all offer streaming services that could not operate as part of this decision. Though Apple decided to change its position a bit earlier this month to allow individual games from the web, the alterations to its policy aren't enough to make xCloud a viable option. 

The service officially debuted for everyone on September 15 as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which costs $14.99 a month and grants access to a library of games across Xbox, PC and the cloud. With over 100 games available on both Android tablets and phones including Gears 5 and Sea of Thieves, there's a wide variety of titles for players to take in. 

However, at that time, a Microsoft spokesperson spoke to The Verge and indicated that the team had "nothing to share at the time regarding iOS," though they reiterated that their "ambition" was to "scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices." 

Microsoft had been testing xCloud on iPhone earlier this year, with a beta that had launched via the TestFlight app. This allowed testers to have a taste of what xCloud offered on a platform outside of Android. Unfortunately, that build did not end up going live for the general public due to Apple's restrictions. 

There’s no general timeline at hand for when anyone can expect to see xCloud on a non-Android device for the moment. But it might assuage users looking to purchase a new iPhone – perhaps the upcoming iPhone 12 – enough to go ahead and lock in a preorder without fear of missing out on being able to play new Xbox games from the cloud.

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.