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Microsoft will let you stream non-Game Pass titles — but not yet

Xbox and Samsung
(Image credit: Future)

Back in June, Microsoft made an interesting promise about the future of Xbox Cloud Gaming:

“We’re excited to share that later this year, it’s our intent to roll out the ability for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play, from the cloud, select games they already own or have purchased outside the Xbox Game Pass library,” wrote Will Tuttle, Editor in Chief of the official Xbox Wire (opens in new tab) blog.

For one brief, shining moment on August 9, gamers thought they had a glimpse of these “select games.” But unfortunately, the next great Xbox experiment was simply a flaw on Microsoft’s website.

Some background information: Right now, you can stream Xbox Game Pass games to a Web browser, console or mobile device. But the same functionality isn’t available for games you own outright. As such, if you own an Xbox game that isn’t available via Game Pass, you can play it on your home console, and that’s about it. Before the end of 2022, Microsoft aims to change that.

Some sharp-eyed Twitter and Reddit users, however, thought that the upgrade might be a little more imminent than that. Klobrille on Twitter, ManejadorDeEspadas on Reddit and a handful of other users were browsing the Microsoft store when they noticed some odd tags on games such as Elden Ring and Grand Theft Auto V. Even though these games are not on Xbox Game Pass, they had cloud symbols next to their titles, or “play” shortcuts in the URL. These are usually reserved for Xbox Game Pass titles with cloud gaming functionality.

As Microsoft will have a big presence at Gamescom in a few weeks, fans on social media reasoned that the company might be gearing up for a big announcement. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Microsoft got in touch with Eurogamer to confirm that the cloud listings were a bug, and the company has since fixed the issue.

Granted, this doesn’t completely rule out the possibility that Microsoft could announce some of its select cloud gaming titles at Gamescom. But we wouldn’t consider any of the games that fans found to be part of a definitive list, and we couldn’t say for sure whether the functionality will really be available within the next few weeks.

The good news is that Microsoft is definitely working on expanding its cloud gaming services, and a representative told us as much firsthand during our Samsung Smart TV demo. We don’t know the release date or the scope of the project, but maybe we’ll learn something new at Gamescom.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.