Microsoft will launch its game streaming service, known as Project xCloud, on September 15th exclusively on Android devices. Project xCloud will be bundled as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, priced at $14.99 per month, with a promise of more than 100 games available on Android tablets and phones. Game streaming will be limited initially to Android; iPhone and iPad users will have to wait.
“It’s our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices, but we have nothing further to share at this time regarding iOS,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. The lack of iOS support at launch will be disappointing to iPhone and iPad owners but not exactly surprising. While Microsoft has been testing xCloud on iOS, the company previously revealed its testing was limited due to Apple’s App Store policies.
Microsoft hasn’t revealed which Apple policies are preventing xCloud from launching on iOS, but Google’s Stadia service is also not available on iPhones or iPads. Valve’s Steam Link app took nearly a year for Apple to approve even though it primarily streams games from your home PC. Apple has also faced questions over its 30 percent cut of in-app purchases and strict App Store policies from the House Judiciary Committee recently as part of a tech antitrust hearing.
Microsoft is now pushing ahead with its xCloud launch on September 15th regardless, although it appears the company is referring to it as the “cloud gaming” feature of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. It’s launching in 22 countries next month, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Cloud gaming feature, or xCloud as we know it today, will also launch as a beta while Microsoft works to scale it to the millions it expects to use the service around the world. Microsoft will end its free xCloud preview on September 11th, and the company is planning to launch an updated Xbox Game Pass app with game streaming on September 15th. Interestingly, the versions that will be published on the One Store in Korea and Galaxy Store for Samsung users globally will both include “in-app purchase capabilities,” according to Microsoft, suggesting that the Google Play Store version will not.
Microsoft is also partnering with Razer, PowerA, 8BitDo, and Nacon to create accessories and controllers that are ready for xCloud. You’ll also be able to use existing Xbox One controllers or even Sony’s DualShock 4 controllers to play games on xCloud. Microsoft isn’t detailing all 100-plus games that will be available for game streaming just yet, but the company is providing a list of 36 titles that are coming: