Microsoft is getting into cloud game streaming in a big way, with all subscribers to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gaining automatic access to stream those games on Android next month. But if you just can’t wait to play Gears 5 on your Pixel 4, you can do so…right now. The service is available as a beta test right now.
Previously “xCloud” (as it was known before Microsoft’s inevitable and inevitably boring rebrand) was a closed beta, with a few thousand participants selected from an application site. But today’s launch is for everyone in the supported countries. All you need is an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription ($15 a month for about a hundred games on the Xbox One and PC) and an Android phone.
Microsoft is making it very clear that this beta is, well, a beta, with the Play Store listing covered in warnings and disclosures that using it gives Microsoft the right to any feedback you might have. But on the assumption that this is a final test run before the service goes live, it’s certainly worth checking out, since it’s a free perk of the already excellent Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Oh, and if you’re wondering when this game streaming stuff will come to the iPhone…keep wondering. Apple seems committed to blocking off most or all of the new crop of game streaming services from the App Store. There’s also no indication that these games will be able to stream to the PC, instead requiring a full install and the hardware to run them.