xCloud beta heading to iOS and PC next year
After Apple’s cumbersome submission process made it seem like Game Pass and xCloud would be a long shot on iOS, Xbox has announced that the xCloud beta will indeed be heading to the App Store (and PC) in 2021.
The xCloud Preview Program kicked off last month for Android users. We had our reservations going into the program but that had nothing to do with the xCloud game streaming technology, and everything to do with Australia’s national broadband infrastructure. But as my colleague Nathan points out in his hands-on impressions with xCloud, the tech has come a long way since E3 2019, and he came away surprised by how smooth it was over Australian 4G.
Nathan’s only criticisms were how certain games built for the big screen translated to tiny smartphone devices. So if you are interested in making full use of the game streaming technology, you might want to invest in a bigger phone, like the ASUS ROG Phone 3 for Android, or the iPhone 12 Pro Max for iOS.
For us, xCloud, more than anything, looks like a good excuse to dust off the old iPad for some mobile Halo: Infinite action when that releases later next year.
Hold up, what is xCloud?
xCloud is a way for Xbox users (whether you’re last-gen or next-gen) to stream games to their smartphone, tablet or PC. Rather than storing the game on your hard drive, your mobile device streams console-quality games, such as Forza Horizon 4 or Minecraft Dungeons, from racked Xbox One S consoles in one of Microsoft’s 60 worldwide Azure data centres.
If you’re streaming in Australia, you’ll connect to the closest of three Azure data centres in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra.
We often talk about Xbox Game Pass as the “Netflix of games” but in reality, you still need to download huge game installs to your hard drive before you can begin playing. The combination of xCloud and Game Pass will be the true SVOD equivalent for gaming. Instant access to over 100+ titles, whether you’re vegging out on the couch, or commuting to work.