Xbox game streaming is now open to all iPhone and iPad users, providing they access the service through the Safari browser and have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
Previously in an invite-only beta for iOS and iPadOS, Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly called xCloud) is now in an open beta and thus available to all Apple device users. It's also now widely available to PC users, as the service can be accessed through the Edge and Google Chrome browsers.
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"Starting today, Xbox Cloud Gaming is available to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members with Windows 10 PCs and Apple phones and tablets, via browser, across 22 countries," explained Catherine Gluckstein, vice president hand head of product for Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Due to Apple's App Store restrictions, Xbox Cloud Gaming can't be provided through the Xbox Game Pass app on iOS like it can be on Android. As such, it has to be accessed through the Safari browser.
How to access Xbox Cloud Gaming on Safari
If you have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription then you can you visit xbox.com/play through Safari on iOS and create a shortcut to Xbox Cloud Gaming on your home screen. Simply tap the browser's share button and choose a name for the progressive web app.
You don't necessarily need any extra hardware to play Xbox Cloud Gaming titles on your phone. There are more than 50 games with custom touch controls, including Minecraft Dungeons, Yakuza: Like A Dragon and Gears 5. Microsoft says around a sixth of people who play Game Pass titles through the cloud are using touch controls.
Aside from the Xbox Wireless Controller, Xbox Cloud Gaming supports a number of first- and third-party peripherals, such as Razer Kishi (see the image above) and Backbone One controllers designed for iOS. You can even use Sony's PlayStation 4 controller, the DualShock 4. At least for now, you'll need a controller to use Xbox Cloud Gaming on PC as mouse and keyboard inputs aren't supported.
Xbox game streaming expands
The web browser and iOS move isn't the only upgrade Microsoft announced for Xbox Cloud Gaming. The company has been improving the service's infrastructure and it now runs on custom Xbox Series X hardware. Games will now stream at up to 1080p and up to 60 frames per second. That's a great enhancement that should make playing on Xbox Cloud Gaming look better and feel smoother.
These rollouts don't fix the issue of having a poor internet connection, however. Xbox Cloud Gaming requires a minimum speed of 10 Mbps and Microsoft recommends a 5Ghz Wi-Fi connection. Millions of Americans still lack reliable, fast and affordable Internet access. That's a barrier to Microsoft's goal of reaching as many gamers as possible, and the company's trying to do something about that by expanding internet access across the US.
There's no sign as yet of the Xbox Cloud Gaming streaming sticks or smart TV apps that Microsoft is working on. Still, the browser and iOS rollouts are important steps on Microsoft's long journey of breaking major games free from consoles and powerful PCs and making them as accessible as possible. So, the next time you're hanging out at a park this summer, you can take along an iPad or iPhone and a controller and play Xbox games while enjoying some great weather.