While Microsoft can’t release an app natively on iOS without giving Apple a 30% fee on every transaction, xCloud game streaming is now out of beta and fully available for iPhone and iPad users through Safari. It’s also available for PC.
The company has been testing cloud gaming through the web for a couple of months, and it’s now rolling out the feature to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in 22 countries. If you’re a subscriber, you can visit xbox.com/play on Microsoft Edge, Chrome or Safari to play more than a hundred Xbox Game Pass games. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up for Game Pass Ultimate, which costs $15 per month or $1 for your first three months, via that site.
If you visit that page through Safari on iOS, you can create a shortcut to Xbox Cloud Gaming on your home screen. Simply tap the browser’s share button and choose a name for the progressive web app. You won’t be able to download an Xbox Cloud Gaming app from the App Store and play that way due to Apple’s game streaming restrictions.
You don’t necessarily need any extra hardware to play Xbox Cloud Gaming titles on your phone. There are more than 50 games with custom touch controls, including Minecraft Dungeons, Yakuza: Like A Dragon and Gears 5. Microsoft says around a sixth of people who play Game Pass titles through the cloud are using touch controls.
Aside from the Xbox Wireless Controller, Xbox Cloud Gaming supports a number of first- and third-party peripherals, such as Razer Kishi and Backbone One controllers designed for iOS. You can even use Sony’s PlayStation 4 controller, the DualShock 4. At least for now, you’ll need a controller to use Xbox Cloud Gaming on PC as mouse and keyboard inputs aren’t supported.
The web browser and iOS move isn’t the only upgrade Microsoft announced for Xbox Cloud Gaming. The company has been improving the service’s infrastructure and it now runs on custom Xbox Series X hardware. Games will now stream at up to 1080p and up to 60 frames per second. That’s a great enhancement that should make playing on Xbox Cloud Gaming look better and feel smoother.
These rollouts don’t fix the issue of having a poor internet connection, however. Xbox Cloud Gaming requires a minimum speed of 10Mbps and Microsoft recommends a 5Ghz Wi-Fi connection. Millions of Americans still lack reliable, fast and affordable Internet access. That’s a barrier to Microsoft’s goal of reaching as many gamers as possible, and the company’s trying to do something about that by expanding internet access across the US.
There’s no sign as yet of the Xbox Cloud Gaming streaming sticks or smart TV apps that Microsoft is working on. Still, the browser and iOS rollouts are important steps on Microsoft’s long journey of breaking major games free from consoles and powerful PCs and making them as accessible as possible. So, the next time you’re hanging out at a park this summer, you can take along an iPad or iPhone and a controller and play Xbox games while enjoying some great weather.