Microsoft has announced the long-awaited expansion of Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly known as Project xCloud) to support iPhone, iPad and Windows 10 devices will get under way with a public beta starting tomorrow 20th April 2021.
From tomorrow, Microsoft will be sending out invites to select Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to start testing the limited beta on those devices. Where this is something that runs in a dedicated app on Android, it will run through a web browser using Edge or Google Chrome on Windows and Safari on iOS, getting around Apple’s restrictions on streaming apps. Users will have to head to xbox.com/play in order to play.
Just as with the Android experience, you’ll be able to play using a compatible Bluetooth controller – the Xbox controllers will surely provide the best experience, but you can also connect a v2 DualShock 4, amongst others – and there’s 50 games on Game Pass that support touch controls.
Update: Microsoft has issued a list of approved devices and system requirements on their Getting Started guide. iOS devices need to be running iOS 14.4 or newer, and Windows 10 requires the October 2020 update to have been installed.
Xbox Cloud Gaming verified iPhones
iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max
Xbox Cloud Gaming verified iPads
iPad Air (3rd Gen), iPad Air (4th Gen), iPad Pro 11 2nd Gen, iPad Mini 5th Gen, iPad 8th Gen
Xbox Cloud Gaming verified Windows 10 devices
Surface Go, Surface Go 2, Surface Pro 6, Surface Pro X, Surface Pro 7+, Surface Laptop, Surface Laptop 3, Surface Book 2
It’s not clear what the minimum iOS version will be for iPhone and iPad users, but we would anticipate that it requires iOS 13 and iPadOS from 2019 which added support for the DualShock 4 and Xbox Wireless Controller as a Bluetooth device. The lowest compatible iPhone would then be the iPhone 6S and the iPad Air 2.
The limited beta will provide access to 100 Xbox Game Pass games, with access available to players through all 22 supported countries. Microsoft will then evaluate feedback, refine the experience and so on until they can broaden the reach to more users.
Microsoft have steadily broadened the reach of their game streaming service over the last two years, bringing it to more countries, testing on various platforms, and eventually bundling Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming in September 2020 for all Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.
After they finish their rollout onto these new platforms, the company can then turn its focus to the quality of the streaming itself. The server blades powering the service are all based on Xbox One S hardware, limiting the game streams to 720p and 30 frames per second. While Stadia and Luna both tout more powerful servers with 1080p and 4K streaming, Microsoft will have to start rolling out Xbox Series X-based servers before they can compete in terms of visual fidelity and performance. That won’t happen any time soon when they need every chip they can get to shove into consoles!