Today’s the day when Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Streaming is officially available. It appears in the updated “Game Pass” app on Android as a “Cloud” section next to the Console and PC sections. You can only browse games in the Console and PC sections (and install them remotely to your console or PC), but in the Cloud section, you can actually play them on your Android device!
I’ve been using the Xcloud game streaming service as a beta since it started, and at the beginning, it was very rough. Games would freeze or the display would freeze and the game would keep going on audio but you couldn’t see anything. It used to be very buggy and difficult to use.
Today is a completely different story. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Cloud Streaming is just about as smooth as playing Xbox games on a real Xbox!
Below is a little video to illustrate how smooth Xbox Cloud Streaming works on a Surface Duo. Loading games can still be pretty slow, and the touch controls that we saw in the beta are missing for now, but playing games is very good. Of course, we’re on a 5Ghz WiFi connection with about 85Mbps download speeds, so your mileage may vary.
Of course, this isn’t free. It requires a Game Pass Ultimate subscription which costs $15 per month. Game Pass is a subscription that’s kind of like Music Pass or Netflix except it’s for Xbox Games. That price sounds like way too much just to enable cloud streaming, but that $15/month includes a lot of other extras. You also get a huge library of Xbox games to install and play on any Xbox, and you get another selection of Windows 10 PC games to install and play on any of your gaming computers, and you get the Xbox Live Gold subscription which enables online multiplayer gaming as well as “Games with Gold” free games to keep every two weeks. You also get some 50-75% off discounts on buying Xbox games in the Microsoft Store and you get instant first day access to select new Xbox exclusive games as soon as they’re released. If you like Xbox and PC games, that $15/month becomes quite reasonable once you add up all the perks.
Sorry, Xbox Game Pass Cloud Streaming won’t work on Apple iOS devices because Apple says no.