Discover the future of gaming without the constraints of traditional hardware through Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming, formerly known as Project xCloud. The dream of playing console and PC-quality games on any mobile device is a reality.
Xbox Cloud Gaming aims to dominate the cloud gaming scene in 2023 with the extensive Xbox Game Pass library. However, there might be better choices for everyone; alternatives like GeForce Now offer a more stable game library.
In this guide, we’ll assist you in navigating the world of Xbox Cloud Gaming and making an informed decision. Ready to explore all about Xbox Cloud Gaming? Read till the end…
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What Is Xbox Cloud Gaming?
Xbox Cloud Gaming, formerly known as Project xCloud during its beta phase, is Microsoft’s official cloud gaming service. It links your local device to a cloud server that runs Xbox games natively.
Your inputs are transmitted to the server, and the resulting output is streamed directly to your device. Initially available only on Android mobile devices, the service has expanded to include Windows PCs and Xbox consoles.
It now supports Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices through a web browser, bringing it closer to device compatibility with other popular cloud gaming platforms like GeForce Now. Its integration with Game Pass Ultimate adds appeal for many users.
How Does Xbox Cloud Gaming Work?
Xbox Cloud Gaming operates by linking your device to a distant cloud server. This server executes the game and processes your commands in real-time, providing a seamless gaming experience on your device.
However, input latency can be influenced by factors like internet speed and server proximity. Microsoft suggests a minimum internet speed of 7-10Mbps, with faster connections offering superior performance.
Using a wired connection or a high-quality router can further enhance gameplay. Depending on your platform, such as Android, Apple devices, or Windows. The steps to play vary, ranging from opening the Xbox Game Pass app to accessing Xbox.com/play on a browser.
The Benefits Of Using Xbox Cloud Gaming
Xbox Cloud Gaming offers compelling advantages for those considering a hardware-free gaming experience. Here are some of the benefits of using Xbox Cloud Gaming:
- Eliminating the need for dedicated gaming hardware saves on costs, frees up space, and reduces energy consumption at home.
- The accessibility factor is a significant perk, allowing you to play from any location with a reliable internet connection.
- Even if you already own a console or gaming PC, utilizing cloud storage for your games eliminates the hassles of downloading, installing, and updating locally.
- The substantial size of modern games, often exceeding 80GB, results in significant storage space savings.
- The time saved from skipping updates is particularly beneficial for casual or busy gamers.
- Opting for Xbox Cloud Gaming means you won’t need to worry about upgrading gaming-specific hardware soon.
- Server-side upgrades handle the hardware improvements, ensuring you enjoy the benefits without the need for personal investments.
- This has already been evident in regions where servers transitioned from Xbox Series S to Xbox Series X blades.
- However, it’s important to note that Xbox Cloud Gaming has limitations, such as the inability to use mouse-and-keyboard inputs.
- Controllers or touch inputs are required for gameplay, and the available games are native to Xbox, lacking support for PC titles.
- While there are hints of PC games joining the cloud catalog in the future, more concrete has yet to materialize.
Note: On the downside, as of 2023, its performance is not as robust as that of some competitors, with occasional frame drops or connection issues. This means it may not be the ideal choice for those aiming to excel in competitive online gaming.
Is It Necessary To Have A Controller For Xbox Cloud Gaming?
Whether a controller is necessary for Xbox Cloud Gaming depends on your game. While Bluetooth controllers offer the most comfortable experience, Microsoft has introduced a “touch input overlay” for Android users, enabling gameplay using the touchscreen for select titles.
Initially featured in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, this touch control support has expanded to over 200 games, with customization options available for some, such as Minecraft Dungeons.
Microsoft is actively exploring touchscreen controls that go beyond emulating a controller, introducing innovations like full touch controls in menus and enhancing user interaction. Look for the small finger icon on game tiles to identify titles supporting touch controls.
For games without touch compatibility, a controller is required to launch the game, supporting a range of wired or wireless options, including mobile-friendly designs like the Razer Kishi.
What Is The Pricing For Xbox Cloud Gaming?
Xbox Cloud Gaming is exclusively accessible to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers and is priced at $16.99 monthly.
This comprehensive subscription encompasses online play, Xbox Game Pass for console and PC, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and EA Play. Notably, there needs to be a standalone subscription specifically for Xbox Cloud Gaming.
For those interested in a free trial of Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft has collaborated with Epic Games to offer Fortnite as a free-to-play title on the service, even without a paid subscription.
However, it’s worth noting that Fortnite’s demand for quick response times and a stable connection may not fully showcase the optimal performance of Xbox Cloud Gaming.
If you’re still deciding which service suits your needs, explore our Xbox Game Pass vs Game Pass Ultimate comparison for more insights.
What Hardware Does Xbox Cloud Gaming Use In The Cloud?
Xbox Cloud Gaming initially utilized servers based on Xbox One S, later upgrading to Xbox Series X for enhanced performance.
The hardware improvements include a 30% reduction in power consumption through minor processor tweaks in the earlier servers.
The output was set at 120Hz to minimize input latency on the final device, even though the stream is capped at 60fps.
Despite the current limitation of 1080p 60fps streaming, this is attributed to streaming technology rather than raw power, leaving room for potential performance enhancements through future software tweaks by Microsoft.
In Which Countries Is Xbox Cloud Gaming Available?
Xbox Cloud Gaming is accessible in 28 countries globally; however, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t extend to every country with Xbox Game Pass.
The complete list of supported countries is as follows:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- New Zealand
What Are The Devices That Support Xbox Cloud Gaming?
Xbox Cloud Gaming is currently supported on Android mobile devices through Microsoft’s Game Pass app. It’s also accessible on Windows 10 (and newer) PCs and on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, but not through the Apple App Store.
Due to Apple’s requirements, Microsoft opted for a web browser approach, using Safari for access. The Xbox app has been introduced on 2022 models of Samsung’s smart TVs.
This allows users to play games via the cloud by subscribing to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and using a compatible controller. There are also speculations about a standalone streaming dongle, though no official confirmation has been provided yet.