Samsung Galaxy Note 20 getting Xbox games to fight iPhone 12

Samsung Xbox Game Pass Galaxy Note 20
(Image credit: Samsung)

Back in February Samsung announced that it was working with Microsoft to deliver a "premium cloud-based game streaming experience," and now we have a pretty good idea what that will look like on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20.

If the rumor proves true, the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra could blow away the iPhone 12 when it comes to gaming with console-quality titles to go up against Apple Arcade.

According to a leak from MySmartPrice, those who purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 will get a free 3-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass. The tip comes from leaker Ishan Agarwal via Twitter, who has a pretty good track record when it comes to Samsung product info. 

In addition, the Galaxy Note 20 will reportedly get a MOGA X5-X+ Game controller that's designed to play Xbox games on phones. The gamepad would be a pre-order gift in "select countries."

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In July, WinFuture reported that the Galaxy Note 20 would be able to stream Xbox games over Project xCloud, a streaming platform that will be integrated into Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription service later this year. There will apparently be more than 90 games available to stream on the phones, turning them into a "portable game console."

According to the Xbox Game Pass site, you can play more than 100 high-quality console and PC games with the subscription service. Titles range from Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Gears 5 to Forza Horizon 4 and The Witcher 3.

In addition to getting access to games on your Galaxy Note 20, Xbox Game Pass members get other perks, too. Microsoft says you can save up to 20% on Xbox One game purchases. Microsoft previously revealed that Project xCloud streaming will be part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, an all-in-one service that gets you access to Game Pass console, Game Pass PC and Xbox Live Gold for $14.99 per month.

By comparison, Apple Arcade costs $4.99 per month with over 100 games, and you can play on iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as Apple TV. In general, we've found the titles to be high quality, but they don't have the same name recognition of the franchises available through Xbox Game Pass. 

It's worth noting that Project xCloud streaming is also slated to come to iOS eventually and currently has an iOS beta, but it's currently limited to a single game. If Samsung can beat Apple to having Xbox Game Pass access, it could make the Galaxy Note 20 much more appealing than the iPhone for serious gamers.

What's not clear is how well the Xbox Game Pass games will be optimized for the Galaxy Note 20's touch screen or S Pen. If a controller is required, that will limit the appeal of this cloud-based service. 

Still, between the 120Hz display for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, a faster new Snapdragon 865 Plus processor and 5G connectivity standard, the addition of Xbox Game Pass could make the Note 20 the ultimate gaming phone.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.