Microsoft has its own cloud gaming platform. Called Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – also often referred to as Xbox Cloud Gaming – it offers more than 100 Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games to be played on PC, Mac, Chromebook, Android and iOS devices over a data connection.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Xbox cloud games service, including what devices are compatible and all the available games.
What is Xbox Cloud Gaming?
Called “Project xCloud” during its earlier days, Xbox Cloud Gaming is Microsoft’s game streaming platform that is designed as a complementary service to its Xbox One and Xbox Series X / Series S games consoles. It’s available in 22 countries as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.
It is also available in Australia, Brazil, Japan and Mexico for a preview period before being integrated into Games Pass Ultimate in those countries too, sometime in the future.
It is a streaming service, in that all games are hosted on custom Xbox Series X hardware located at remote servers around the world. Live gameplay video is sent to a compatible device over the internet. In return, controller codes are sent in the other direction so, for all intents and purposes, it feels like you are playing a game loaded on the device itself.
It is not a new idea; PlayStation Now has been available on PS4 consoles for several years; Nvidia has GeForce Now available on PCs and mobile devices; and Cloud Gaming’s major rival, Google’s Stadia, launched in 2019. However, Microsoft’s service is not a separate offering – it is a no-cost addition to its existing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership scheme.
Microsoft believes Cloud Gaming is one of the best game streaming services around because it utlises the firm’s enormous network of data centres around the world. This ensures game requests can be served locally rather than across continents, potentially reducing latency by shortening the distance between the end user and the data centre.
Latency is the enemy of cloud gaming, often adding many milliseconds between button presses and actions performed on screen. And, while that doesn’t sound like much, milliseconds are vital when it comes to gaming. Say you press the button to shoot an onrushing enemy, a few milliseconds of latency can be the difference between hitting them and not. Or, in a driving game such as Forza Horizon 4, the difference between successfully drifting around a corner or ending up wrapped around a tree.
Does that mean my Xbox One or other games console will be defunct in future?
Xbox Cloud Gaming is not designed to replace games consoles. Instead, it runs parallel to the company’s machines, offering many of the same games and even allowing for save games to be picked up and continued no matter which device you use: mobile, console or even PC.
As it is available as part of the company’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership scheme, which also includes over 300 games to download to the Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, 200 games for PC, Xbox Live Gold and EA Play, it is seen very much as an extension to console gaming, not a replacement.
Essentially, Cloud Gaming is an ideal way for you to carry-on your Xbox experience on a portable device, whether you are at home or out and about.
When and where can I use xCloud?
Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is available in 22 countries as a dedicated app for Android devices. It is also available via a web browser on iOS, PC, Mac and Chromebook. Safari, Chrome and Microsoft’s own Edge browser are all supported.
For Android, you need to download the Xbox Game Pass app from Google Play or the Samsung Galaxy Store. You can play cloud games through the app, plus wishlist and even download games to your Xbox console or Windows PC.
If you want to play through iPhone or iPad, you need to head to xbox.com/play on your device’s Safari web browser. You can then create a web app for your homescreen that jumps straight into the service on a single tap. Here are our in-depth instructions on how to get that working: How to play Xbox Cloud Gaming on iPhone and iPad.
Supported iPhones and iPads are below. Others might work, but these are the iOS and iPadOS devices verified by Microsoft.
iPad Air (3rd Gen)iPad Air (4th Gen)iPad Pro 11 2nd GeniPad Mini 5th GeniPad 8th GeniPhone XRiPhone XSiPhone 11iPhone 11 ProiPhone 12 MiniiPhone 12iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max
You can also play directy in a web browser on PC, Mac and Chromebook, although owners of the latter can also install the dedicated Android app on their laptop directly.
Among the countries covered are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK and the US. You can see a full list of countries with Cloud Gaming support here.
It is also available in Australia, Brazil, Japan and Mexico, in localised languages, but only as part of a preview programme for now. If successful, it could also expand into the full service enjoyed in other countries. Anyone in those regions can register to play the free trial here.
Several games on Cloud Gaming now feature touch controls (around 50 of them, at present). Mostly though, you will also need a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One Wireless Controller to play the titles effectively. Xbox also recommends you acquire a phone mount for the controller, unless you are playing using a tablet.
The mount is reasonably inexpensive, however.
How much does Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cost?
As the long version of its name suggests, Cloud Gaming is free to all those with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. The all-you-can-eat digital download service for Xbox One, Series X/S and Windows 10, is £10.99 / $14.99 per month.
What is Xbox Remote Play?
As well as Cloud Gaming, Xbox Remote Play is available. Using the same technology, gamers can use their own Xbox One or Series X/S consoles as a Cloud Gaming server and therefore stream their own games to a portable device.
PlayStation offers something similar in the form of PS4 and PS5 Remote Play, but Xbox Remote Play is different as you aren’t restricted to having to be on the same home network, you can also stream over a mobile data connection.
You can find out more about it here.
Xbox Cloud Gaming games list
Here is the current list of all the available games on Cloud Gaming (as of 29 June 2021):
A Plague Tale: InnocenceARK: Survival EvolvedAstroneerBanjo-KazooieBanjo-TooieBatman: Arkham KnightBattle Chasers: NightwarBattletoadsBeholder Complete EditionBlack DesertBlair WitchBleeding EdgeBridge Constructor PortalCall of the SeaCarrionCartoCelesteChildren of MortaCities SkylinesClusterTruckCode VeinConan ExilesControlCrackdown 3Cricket 19CrossCodeCyber ShadowDark AllianceDarkest DungeonDarksiders GenesisDayZDead by DaylightDead CellsDeep Rock GalacticDescendersDesperados III
Destiny 2Destroy All Humans!Dirt 5Dishonored 2Dishonored Definitive EditionDishonored: Death of the OutsiderDisneyland AdventuresDon’t Starve: Giant EditionDonut CountyDoom (2016)Doom (1993)Doom 3Doom 64Doom EternalDoom II (Classic)Double Dragon NeonDouble Kick HeroesDragon Age: InquisitionDragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive EditionDrake HollowEastshadeeFootball PES 2021 Season UpdateElite DangerousEmpire of SinEnter The GungeonF1 2019Fabe AnninversaryFable IIFable IIIFallout 3Fallout 4Fallout 76Fallout: New VegasFive NIght’s at Freddy’sFive NIght’s at Freddy’s 2Five NIght’s at Freddy’s 3Five NIght’s at Freddy’s 4For HonorForager
Forza Horizon 4Forza Motorsport 7Frostpunk: Console EditionFusion FrenzyGears 5Gears of War 2Gears of War 3Gears of War 4Gears of War: JudgmentGears of War: Ultimate EditionGears TacticsGenesis NoirGoat SimulatorGoing UnderGolf with Your FriendsGonner 2Grand Theft Auto VGreedfallGroundedGuacamelee! 2Halo 5: GuardiansHalo Wars: Definitive EditionHalo Wars 2Halo: Spartan AssaultHalo: The Master Chief CollectionHavenHellblade: Senua’s SacrificeHello NeighborHollow Knight: Voidheart EditionHot Shot RacingHuman Fall FlatHypnospace OutlawIkenfellInjustice 2Jetpac RefuelledJoy Ride TurboJurassic World EvolutionJust Cause 4: ReloadedKameoKatana ZeroKiller Instinct DEKiller Queen BlackLonely Mountains: DownhillMadden NFL 20ManeaterMarvel vs. Capcom: InfiniteMass Effect: AndromedaMechWarrior 5: MercenariesMiddle Earth: Shadow of WarMinecraft: DungeonsMirror’s Edge CatalystMLB The Show 21Monster Hunter: WorldMonster SanctuaryMonster TrainMoonlighterMorkreddMotoGP 20Mount & Blade: WarbandMy Time At PortiaNarita BoyNBA 2K21Neon AbyssNeoverseNew Super Lucky’s TaleNieR:AutomataNight in the Woods
No Man’s SkyNowhere ProphetOblivionOctopath TravelerOri and the Blind Forest: Definitive EditionOri and the Will of the WispsOuter WildsOutlast 2OutridersOvercooked! 2Peggle 2Perfect DarkPerfect Dark ZeroPhogs!PikunikuPillars of Eternity: Complete EditionPillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – Ultimate EditionPlanet Coaster: Console EditionPlants vs Zombies: Battle for NeighborvillePlants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)Power Rangers: Battle for the GridPreyProject WinterPsychonautsRageRage 2Rain on Your ParadeReCore: Definitive EditionRed Dead OnlineRemnant: From the AshesResident Evil 7 BiohazardRiver City GirlsRush: A DisneyPixar AdventureScourgeBringerSea of ThievesSecond ExtinctionSecret NeighborShadow Warrior 2Slay the SpireSlime RancherSniper Elite 4SnowRunnerSpiritfarerStar Renegades
State of Decay 2: Juggernaut EditionStealth Inc 2: A Game of ClonesSteepStellarisStranger Things 3: The GameStreets of Rage 4Streets of RogueSubnauticaSuperhot: Mind Control DeleteSupralandTell Me Why Episode 1 – 3TerrariaThe Bard’s Tale IV: Directors CutThe Bard’s Tale Remastered and ResnarkledThe Bard’s Tale TrilogyThe Catch: Carp & Coarse FishingThe Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance TacticsThe Elder Scrolls III: MorrowindThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special EditionThe Elder Scrolls OnlineThe Evil WithinThe Evil Within 2The FalconeerThe Gardens BetweenThe Little AcreThe Long DarkThe MessengerThe Outer WorldsThe Sims 4The Surge 2The TourystThe Walking Dead: A New Frontier (Episodes 1 – 5)The Walking Dead: MichonneThe Walking Dead: Season TwoThe Walking Dead: The Complete First SeasonThe Wild at HearttheHunter: Call of the WildThronebreaker: The Witcher TalesTom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Deluxe EdtionTorchlite IIITotally Accurate Battle SimulatorTotally Reliable Delivery ServiceTouhou Luna NightsTrailmakersTrain Sim World 2020Two Point HospitalUndermineUndertaleUnravel TwoUnruly HeroesUnto The EndViva PiñataViva Piñata: Trouble in ParadiseWarhammer Vermintide 2Wasteland RemasteredWasteland 2: Director’s CutWasteland 3
We Happy FewWhat Remains of Edition FinchWilmot’s WarehouseWolfenstein: The New OrderWolfenstein: The Old BloodWolfenstein: YoungBloodWolfenstein II: The New ColossusWorld War ZWorms RumbleWorms W.M.DWreckfestXeno CrisisYakuza 0Yakuza 3 RemasteredYakuza 4 RemasteredYakuza 5 RemasteredYakuza 6: The Song of LifeYakuza KiwamiYakuza Kiwami 2Yakuza: Like a DragonYes, Your GraceYooka-Laylee and the Impossible LairZombie Army 4: Dead War