Don’t own a powerful PC or a newer console? No problem: Thanks to cloud game streaming services, you don’t have to dish out hundreds of dollars to enjoy the best that the gaming industry has to offer. For example, NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW cloud gaming service lets you play Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding with DLSS 2.0 enabled while Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service offers arguably the lowest latency and highest quality for its selection of games. Microsoft’s competing Project xCloud, which offers up a range of popular Xbox titles, has been in preview for a few months but will soon launch for everyone later this year.
Gaming hardware keeps getting more and more expensive: consoles like the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X are not expected to cost any less than $500 at launch, while a decent gaming PC that can play AAA games will set you back even more. That’s why game streaming has become attractive; you can play many games without needing expensive hardware aside from a controller and a decent Internet connection. The three major game streaming services have wildly different models: NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW lets customers play from select titles in their existing Steam/Epic Games library, Stadia requires users to purchase titles from its online store, and Project xCloud lets users play over a hundred Xbox Game Pass titles. NVIDIA has a free tier with limited playtime and fewer quality options, Stadia has a Pro tier that gives users free games from time-to-time, and Project xCloud requires a monthly subscription fee but offers many games upfront.
In September, Project xCloud will be exiting preview, so invites won’t be required anymore. Microsoft is combining Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass, and xCloud game streaming into a single $15 per month subscription called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. According to The Verge, Microsoft won’t always limit xCloud to the $15/month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription tier, though Microsoft did not share concrete details on future subscription plans. At launch, you’ll be able to play from over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on supported devices, including Android phones or tablets. However, Microsoft hasn’t shared a list of games that will be available at launch, nor have they shared which specific phone and tablet models will be supported.
Support for DualShock 4 controllers and PC streaming are still planned to happen, though no specific announcements have been made today. Microsoft hasn’t announced which countries they’ll launch the service in, though the current preview includes multiple European nations. Lastly, Microsoft told The Verge that Project xCloud won’t be the final name of the service, though the company hasn’t settled on what they’re going to call it at launch.
Here’s what Microsoft announced on their official Xbox blog earlier today:
Finally, today we’re announcing that this September, in supported countries, we’re bringing Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud together at no additional cost for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. With cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet. And because Xbox Live connects across devices, you can play along with the nearly 100 million Xbox Live players around the world. So when Halo Infinite launches, you and your friends can play together and immerse yourselves in the Halo universe as Master Chief—anywhere you go and across devices.
Cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate means your games are no longer locked to the living room. You can connect more than ever with friends and family through gaming. And just like you do with your movie and music streaming services, when cloud gaming launches into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can continue your game wherever you left off on any of your devices.