X
X
The Best Tech Newsletter Anywhere

Join 250,000 subscribers and get a daily digest of news, geek trivia, and our feature articles.

What Is the Xbox Cloud Gaming (Project xCloud)?

xCloudHero
Microsoft

Play the latest AAA titles in high definition on the go with nothing more than an Android device and a stable internet connection. Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate makes it all possible with a library of more than 150 games.

What Is Xbox Cloud Gaming?

Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, formerly known as Project xCloud, makes it possible to play any game from its extensive library on Android devices; all you need is the Game Pass app from the Samsung Galaxy Store or the Google Play Store, a subscription to Game Pass Ultimate, a controller, and a decent internet connection (most home broadband, and even 4G LTE connections are sufficient). MIcrosoft’s Cloud Gaming FAQ page states that “at least 10Mbps download speed” is required.

RELATED: Microsoft Just Unveiled Its New Xbox Experience, and It Looks Much Better

Xbox Game Pass works by running the game in the cloud, using Microsoft’s own high-end hardware, and streaming the results to your device pre-rendered and ready to go. This allows a modest Android phone to render even graphically intensive games like The Witcher without issue.

Video game streaming is nothing like streaming to an audience like you would on YouTube or Twitch—it’s a tool to make playing games on portable devices, your Android device and tablet, much easier. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a suitable desktop PC to run your favorite games.

Xbox Game Pass is similar to other game streaming services, such as Google Stadia, but it provides access to a different set of game titles. Additionally, Microsoft has chosen to bundle its cloud gaming offering as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which offers a number of other features in addition to streaming.

Xbox Cloud Gaming is not currently offered as a standalone service. Combining the Ultimate membership and the Xbox cloud gaming service means that players will have dozens of games available to stream from the moment they sign up.

If you already have a Game Pass subscription on the PC, you can access games from the Game Pass PC library and play them on Android devices after downloading the Xbox Game Pass app for Windows 10 and the Xbox Game Pass app on your Android mobile device or tablet.

What’s Required?

To play Xbox games from the cloud, you will need:

  • An active Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.
  • An Xbox Bluetooth-enabled controller.
  • An Android mobile phone or tablet with version Android 6.0 or higher.
  • A Wi-Fi/LTE data connection with at least 10Mbps down-speed.
  • The Xbox Game Pass Android app, available from Samsung Galaxy and Google Play app stores.

As of September 2020, Xbox cloud gaming cannot be used on an iPhone or iPad due to restrictions imposed by Apple on App Store pricing and distribution models.

For the curious, Microsoft has made cloud gaming compatible with DualShock controllers, but it doesn’t currently work as flawlessly as one would hope. Here is a complete list of controllers that are supported by the Xbox cloud gaming service, including the classic Xbox controller.

Online Gameplay and the Cloud Library

Microsoft lists all available titles that can be accessed with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription in its game library. As of September 2020, there are over 150 titles to choose from, including popular titles like Wasteland 3, Nier: Automata, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and more.

Some games, such as Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and Gears 5, feature basic touch control and support. Microsoft also hopes to expand touch controls to more games, as the options right now are fairly limited.

Using the Xbox Game Pass Android app, users can chat in-game using the microphone on their Android device. You’ll need a third-party app to stream personal gameplay on services like Twitch or YouTube; there is no built-in support for such services (unlike the experience on the Xbox One or Xbox Series X consoles).

How Much Is the Xbox Game Pass Cloud?

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which costs $15 per month, will automatically grant access to Xbox cloud gaming features at no additional charge. The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription also comes with various other features, such as access to Xbox Game Studio titles on release day, exclusive perks including in-game content, and Xbox Live Gold (multiplayer access).

If you choose to cancel your subscription and buy a specific game you’ve been playing, progress and achievements will carry over, but the ability to play on mobile will be removed.

Joshalynne Finch Joshalynne Finch
Joshalynne is a freelance writer and lifelong learner who always loves studying new things. She enjoys checking out the latest grammar books and writing about video games more than anything else.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.
How-To Geek is where you turn when you want experts to explain technology. Since we launched in 2006, our articles have been read more than 1 billion times. Want to know more?

x

The Best Tech Newsletter Anywhere

Join 250,000 subscribers and get a daily digest of news, comics, trivia, reviews, and more.