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. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (November 2020)
Xbox Cloud Gaming
(formally known as Project xCloud
) is Microsoft
's Xbox cloud gaming
Initially released in beta testing in November 2019, the service later launched for subscribers of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
on September 15, 2020. Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming is provided to subscribers of Ultimate at no additional cost.
Microsoft teased the service at E3 2018
and formally announced Project xCloud several months later, in October 2018.
They demonstrated the service in March 2019 with the racing game Forza Horizon 4
playing on an Android
smartphone with an Xbox One controller
Xbox head Phil Spencer
used a private server during this time to test games on a remote connection.
The service entered its home testing phase in May 2019, when it could be used outside the lab environment. It entered public testing later in the year and was unveiled at E3 2019
Microsoft said that its Xbox content library will make its service more appealing than competitors such as Stadia
The hardware at launch used Xbox One S
-based blade servers
, but it is expected to transition to Xbox Series X
-based servers by 2021.
Each server initially had four customized Xbox One S-based units for the 2018 teaser, but this was doubled to eight per server in a 2U
enclosure for the service's launch in 2019.
Compared to the standard Xbox One S, power consumption has been reduced by 30% through processor-specific power tuning. Video output is set for 120 Hz to reduce latency.
On February 12, 2020, Project xCloud launched on Apple’s mobile operating system in a preview version.
On May 5, 2020, Project xCloud came to Spain (Europe) in preview (Video on live).
Microsoft released Xbox Cloud Gaming across 21 countries in North America and Europe, as well as in South Korea, on September 15, 2020 for select Android devices, with support for more than 150 games at launch.
The internet speed requirements for Xbox Cloud Gaming's service is as follows:
Cloud gaming is available in the following 22 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
By 2020, Microsoft plans to add more countries over time. As of November 2020, Microsoft started receiving applications from users to participate in preview testing in additional countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Japan.
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. (November 2020)
Microsoft introduced cloud play support for selected original Xbox and Xbox 360 titles using its backward compatibility program starting in March 2021 with 16 titles available. Players are able to use cloud-based saved games from the original release of these titles if they have used that service as part of Xbox Live Gold. Some of the games also support official touch controls when played on mobile devices.
The service received generally positive initial impressions from reviewers.
Playing over a T-Mobile LTE connection
with just 25Mbps download speed caused no effect on image quality. Even while playing on a moving bus and train, there was no noticeable loss of image quality.
Reviewers also reported that starting up games on the phone feels faster because the games are running on more powerful remote servers rather than a hard drive on a console. Load times are also minimized and closer to a PC gaming
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The service is designed to work with phones, either with touchscreen
controls or Xbox controller over Bluetooth
. It runs via Microsoft's 54 Azure cloud computing
centers, hosted in 140 countries.
Microsoft is planning to upgrade its server blades
to the more capable Xbox Series X hardware in 2021.
In March 2021, Microsoft released an update to the Android Xbox Cloud Gaming client that allows dual-screened devices like the Surface Duo
to use the second screen to host the touch controls.
Several notable games such as Minecraft Dungeons
and New Super Lucky's Tale
support the dedicated gamepad on the second screen.
Some games such as Gears 5
support motion controls
using the device's built in gyro
and provide a dedicated control scheme when using the gamepad mode.
While Microsoft had planned to release xCloud for iOS devices, the company halted iOS testing in August 2020, asserting that policies on the Apple App Store limited what functionality they could provide for the service.
Apple clarified that cloud streaming services like xCloud allow Microsoft to release games onto the iOS platform that bypass the normal checks that Apple performs for other apps, and thus refused to allow the app on the platform.
However, in September 2020, Apple altered its rules that allowed xCloud and other cloud gaming apps to work on iOS, with restrictions that each game must be offered as an individual download on the iOS store which the user must use before playing, though catalog apps as part of the service can list and link to these games.
Microsoft responded negatively to this change, stating that
"This remains a bad experience for customers. Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We’re committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is core to that mission."
Microsoft suggested in October 2020 that to work around Apple's restriction, it may bring xCloud to iOS as a browser-based web application
, which would not have its content restricted by the App Store limitations.
The company later announced that it will use this approach to bring a browser-based version of the cloud gaming service to both personal computers and to iOS devices to be released sometime by the second quarter of 2021.
An invite-only beta test of the browser version started on April 20, 2021.
Microsoft announced that the service will be available for Windows 10
computers through a browser web application in early of 2021.
Invite-only beta testing launched alongside the iOS beta test on April 20, 2021.
Spencer has also stated that Microsoft is considering bringing the service to smart TVs
and streaming sticks
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- ^ "Project xCloud finally comes to Spain and works fine over 4G mobile network". ELSATE.com (in Spanish). May 5, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
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- ^ Warren, Tom (September 14, 2020). "Microsoft will have more than 150 xCloud games when it launches tomorrow". The Verge. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
- ^ "Project XCloud: revealed, the bandwidth requirements for streaming from the Xbox One". Nerd4.life. September 28, 2019.
- ^ Xbox Supported Countries & Regions
- ^ Cloud gaming (Beta) with Xbox Game Pass
- ^ "Xbox Game Pass Library". Xbox.com.
- ^ Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Subscribers Can Play More Than 100 Games From The Cloud Starting September 15
- ^ Hellblade is the first Project xCloud game with full touch controls
- ^ Hardawar, D. (March 31, 2021). "Xbox cloud gaming adds 'Morrowind' and other backwards compatible titles". Engadget. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
- ^ May 2020, Vic Hood 05. "Hands on: Project xCloud review". TechRadar.
- ^ "Xbox Game Pass's xCloud Makes Toilet Gaming Incredibly Easy".
- ^ "Sorry Stadia, I'm backing xCloud to be the big player in the cloud gaming wars". Android Authority. November 23, 2019.
- ^ a b "Microsoft xCloud Preview Hands-On Impressions: So Far, So Good! - IGN" – via www.ign.com.
- ^ a b Warren, Tom (November 24, 2020). "Microsoft hints at turning Xbox into an app for your TV". The Verge. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
- ^ "Everything you need to know about Xbox Game Pass on Android". Android Central. September 15, 2020.
- ^ Spence, Ewan (March 20, 2021). "Microsoft Reveals Stunning Surface Update". Forbes.com. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
- ^ Bacchus, Arif (March 18, 2021). "Xbox Game Pass Beta App Is Now Optimized With Dual-Screen Controls Catered For The Surface Duo". OnMSFT.com. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
- ^ Bowden, Zac (March 18, 2021). "Microsoft is finally testing dual-screen support with Xbox Game Pass on Surface Duo". WindowsCentral.com. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
- ^ Warren, Tom (August 5, 2020). "Microsoft cuts xCloud iOS testing early as its future on Apple devices remains unclear". The Verge. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
- ^ Gilbert, Ben (August 6, 2020). "When Microsoft's ambitious 'Netflix of gaming' service launches in September, it won't arrive on Apple devices – here's why". Business Insider. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
- ^ Leswing, Kef (September 11, 2020). "Apple issues new rules for App Store that will impact streaming game services from Google and Microsoft". CNBC. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
- ^ Warren, Tom (September 11, 2020). "Microsoft snubs Apple's olive branch to cloud gaming: 'a bad experience for customers'". The Verge. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
- ^ Warren, Tom (October 9, 2020). "Microsoft is bringing xCloud to iOS via the web". The Verge. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
- ^ a b Statt, Nick (December 9, 2020). "Microsoft confirms the xCloud beta is coming to iOS and PC in spring 2021". The Verge. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- ^ a b Warren, Tom (April 19, 2021). "Microsoft's xCloud beta arrives on iOS and PC this week". The Verge. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
Last edited on 21 April 2021, at 14:01
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