After months in limited, invite-only closed beta, Xbox Cloud Gaming is now publicly available. The service is still technically in beta, but is now included for all Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, adding even more value to what is arguably the best service in gaming.
The Xbox Cloud Gaming beta supports devices running the latest version of Android, iOS/iPadOS, macOS, or Windows 10. Microsoft also plans to bring cloud streaming to Xbox One models in the future and will support the upcoming Windows 11 as well.
Xbox Cloud Streaming is a big deal: While plenty of other cloud streaming gaming services exist like Stadia and Amazon, Xbox Cloud Streaming is the first time an established gaming company has launched its own cloud-based streaming service at this scale. If it works well, it could mark a major turning point for Xbox — and gaming in general — if all you need to play the latest games like Halo Infinite is a smartphone, a stable internet connection, and Game Pass Ultimate.
Xbox Cloud Streaming has upgraded cloud streaming infrastructure
Xbox Cloud Streaming has potential, but it needs the right tech if the service is to succeed the way Microsoft intends. To that end, Microsoft upgraded its streaming tech performance alongside the expanded beta availability. Games now run on the equivalent of Xbox Series X hardware.
Stream quality remains capped at 1080p resolution and 60fps, so you won’t achieve the 4K 120fps gameplay that an actual Xbox Series X can, but other technical enhancements like ray tracing and (potentially) faster load times are now possible. Input latency and overall performance depend on your internet connection, but you can stream on wifi or mobile connections, including 5G where available.
We’ll show existing Game Pass Ultimate subscribers how to set up Xbox Cloud Streaming on their preferred devices below.
How to use Xbox Cloud Streaming
You’ll need a few things to access Xbox Cloud Streaming:
- A Game Pass Ultimate subscription. For those who haven’t subscribed yet, Microsoft offers a special introductory price of $1 per month for the first three months. The price jumps to $15.95 a month after that, but that’s still a decent price for access to a rotating library of Xbox and PC games.
- A supported device running the latest versions of Android, iOS, iPadOS, macOS, or Windows 10. Check this page for a full list of supported devices.
- A Bluetooth or USB controller paired to your device. You can use an Xbox controller or a supported third-party option like the Backbone or Razer Kishi for smartphones. (Some games also support touch controls, but using an actual gamepad is much more comfortable.)
- A high-speed internet connection. Microsoft recommends using networks of at least 10Mbps speeds over 5Ghz Wi-Fi.
Finally, you’ll need the proper web browser. Each of the currently supported platforms accesses the service via the web, but browser support varies by operating system.
iOS and iPadOS:
- Other Chromium browsers (like Brave, Opera, Vivaldi, etc.)
- Other Chromium browsers (Brave, Opera, Vivaldi, etc.)
Once you have a controller paired and the proper browser installed, just load up xbox.com/en-US/play on your device, log in with your Game Pass account, then select a game to play from your library (Note: only some Game Pass games currently support cloud streaming. More titles will be added over time.)
Xbox Cloud Streaming has in-home streaming, too
Xbox Cloud Streaming is a great perk for Game Pass subscribers, but it’s not the only way to play Xbox games when you’re away from your TV. If you own an Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One, you can also stream directly from your console Android, iOS, or Windows 10 devices connected to the same network.