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Xbox Game Pass brings classic games to Android

Xbox App with Xbox One controller on green background
(Image credit: Miguel Lagoa | Shutterstock)

The latest Xbox Game Pass development reveals a stark contrast between the way Microsoft and Sony view gaming history. Just one day after Sony announced that it would shut down the PS3, PSP and Vita digital stores, Microsoft has decided to make classic Xbox games more widely available than ever before. As of today, you can play 16 original Xbox and Xbox 360 titles on your Android device via Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) — and there are some really good games in the mix.

Information comes from the official Xbox Wire blog, and it’s pretty much as straightforward as it sounds. As part of the $15-per-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, users can stream certain games directly from Microsoft’s servers to the Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) app on Android. Up until today, only Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S games were eligible for this treatment. But now there are 16 games from older Xbox consoles — and if the program is successful, we’ll probably see more in the future.

The full list of games is as follows:

  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • Double Dragon Neon
  • Fable II
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 3
  • Gears of War: Judgment
  • Jetpac Refuelled
  • Kameo
  • Perfect Dark
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • Viva Piñata
  • Viva Piñata: TIP

The list looks like an agreeable mix of major titles and cult classics. Of particular interest, however, are Jetpac Refuelled and the two Viva Piñata games. Not only did these games get the cloud streaming treatment; they’re also now available with touchscreen controls. This, in theory, obviates the need for a complicated controller mount or phone stand setup.

It’s worth noting, however, that you still need a very strong Internet connection to play Xbox games via the Android app. As such, even the addition of touchscreen controls doesn’t make Xbox Cloud Gaming a truly mobile solution.

One interesting thing about these backwards compatible games is that, according to the Xbox Wire blog, “you’re able to jump right back into the game like you never left.” Assuming you have your account properly synced, you should be able to use your old save files on Android — assuming that they’re not still stuck on an original Xbox, at least. The Xbox 360 supports cloud saves, but Microsoft’s very first console does not.

While we’re about to lose access to some of our favorite Sony handheld games, we’re about to get a whole new handheld option from Microsoft. It’s an interesting week to be a gamer.