If you’ve followed the news about Xbox Game Pass, then you know that you can stream more than 100 of its titles to Android devices as of last month. I took a deep dive into the service, and noticed only two big problems: 1) The interface needs work, and 2) Players should be able to stream games to PCs and consoles as well. Luckily, the head honcho at Xbox seems like he’s committed to fixing both problems.
According to a recent Tweet from Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, Project xCloud will indeed stream to PCs and consoles someday. But the functionality is “a little further down the list,” as the company wants to focus on the mobile component of Xbox Game pass first.
Yes, we want to do this. It’s in the long list of cool things the xCloud team is working on, just a bit further down the list. But we want console and PC players to be able to browse as easily as mobile players, it’s a good gamepass feature.October 7, 2020
While it’s good to have confirmation from Spencer, it’s not exactly shocking news. Many Xbox Game Pass titles are already available for download on PC. Microsoft has game-streaming infrastructure in place for Android. Services like Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now already stream modern blockbuster games directly to PCs and streaming boxes.
It’s also no secret that Microsoft has been putting a lot of emphasis on the Xbox Game Pass subscription — perhaps even more so than on the upcoming Xbox Series X itself. It’s not surprising that the company would eventually want the service available on as many platforms as possible.
There are only two potential caveats in Spencer’s message. The first is that his tweet was in response to a message from Ben Gilbert, a journalist for Business Insider. Gilbert initially asked about streaming Xbox Game Pass on PCs and consoles in order to “demo” games. As such, there’s an outside possibility that streaming Xbox Game Pass titles to PCs and consoles would be a time-limited, try-before-you-buy feature. But that’s not how the service operates on Android, so it seems unlikely.
The other is that streaming on “consoles” is a little vague. By the end of the year, Microsoft will have three consoles receiving active support: the Xbox One, the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S. If Xbox Game Pass offers full streaming capabilities, which consoles will take advantage of it? In theory, it would be most useful on the Xbox One, as that would allow players with older hardware to simply stream newer, demanding games. But it might also disincentivize them from buying newer hardware, and would also tether Microsoft to an old console rather than letting it focus its resources on newer models.
Still, you heard it right from Phil Spencer: Xbox Game Pass will probably be able to stream games to PCs and consoles, at least at some point in the future. As for when we’ll get it, expect the new Xbox consoles to launch first.