With the growing popularity of streaming services offering easy access to thousands of movies and TV shows, it seems understandable that eventually gamers will have the same option for their favorite video games, right? ? Enter the Xbox cloud gaming which offers a platform to instantly stream games to various devices via the cloud.
No need to download large files, all you need is an internet connection to sign up and access a huge library of titles, all for the price of a monthly subscription. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about Xbox cloud gaming.
What is Xbox Cloud Gaming?
Xbox cloud gaming is a way to access Xbox games without having an Xbox console. It’s Microsoft’s way of granting access to its regularly updated library of titles by making them available on the devices you most likely already own. The idea is that you will be able to stream games and play them anywhere without having to buy and download them individually.
Under a subscription service, you can choose games, play whenever you want, and store your save data in the cloud so that any progress you make is reflected on the device you’re using.
What is Xcloud?
Xcloud is the name of the early access preview version of what would later become Xbox cloud gaming (beta). It works as a free addition to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Live gameplay video is sent to a compatible device while controller button presses are sent to the server at the same time, essentially emulating a game that is loaded onto the user’s device. It should be noted that no all can be played via the cloud, but the selection is vast.
How to Use Xbox Cloud Gaming
Streaming from the cloud can be done in a few simple steps
Download/open the Xbox Game Pass app (note that it is different from the Xbox Companion app)
Sign in to your Microsoft account (with an active Ultimate Game Pass subscription).
Connect your choice of controller (not all games require a controller to play).
Choose the cloud tab.
Select a game you own or a game from the Game Pass library and press play.
What do you need to use Xbox cloud gaming?
The first thing you’ll need to access Xbox cloud gaming is a Game Pass Ultimate edition. At £10.99 a month it’s one of the more expensive subscription services out there, but it’s better to pay for a single game that you might not even enjoy once you start playing . This top-tier plan also includes PC Game Pass in addition to the standard game pass, as well as access to cloud gaming. Then you’ll either need a compatible device on which you can install the Game Pass app, or you can access xbox.com through your internet browser.
While a handful of games allow users to play on touchscreen controls, the majority are optimized for a controller. You can connect a controller by connecting it via USB or Bluetooth 4.0. The Xbox Wireless Controller is as good as expected, but there are also third-party options that work well. You can even use the PlayStation’s Dual Shock 4 control pad if that’s all you have.
What is Xbox Remote Play?
Not to be confused with cloud gaming on Xbox, remote gaming offers the ability to stream games from your Xbox directly to a phone, tablet, or PC. For this, you will need to own an Xbox console, as it renders games from your Xbox over an internet connection to other devices. This comes in handy when your TV isn’t available or you’re away from home.
Conveniently, the device you’re using and the console don’t need to be on the same Wi-Fi network. A bonus is that an Ultimate Game Pass subscription is NOT required, just an app on your chosen device and an Xbox account, which is a handy and often overlooked feature that is so easy to use.
Where can you access Xbox cloud gaming? And what platforms does it work on?
Microsoft has offered many ways for gamers to access the Xbox Cloud, including laptops, tablets, IOS, and Android. Of course, if you have an Xbox One (S) or Xbox Series X/S, you can use cloud gaming, but in that case, it would be better to just download the game entirely on your console and experience it at its best. . Here are some of the devices Xbox cloud gaming is available on.
iPhone – iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 12/mini/Pro/Pro Max
iPads – iPad Air 3rd/4th Generation, iPad Pro 11, iPad Mini 5th Generation, iPad 8th Generation
Windows – Surface Go, Surface Go 2, Surface Pro 6, Surface Pro X, Surface Pro 7+, Surface Laptop, Surface Laptop 3, Surface Book 2.
Android – All devices running Android 6.0 or later should have no issues with cloud gaming.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive as Xbox is constantly working to add new device options.
How much does Xbox cloud gaming cost?
Whether you’re a PC gamer, console die-hard, or casual gamer, there are several pricing options to choose from.
From £7.99/month you get the standard console Game Pass. This gives you access to the Xbox game library, including Day One releases, online play, and membership discounts. Cloud gaming is not available on this price plan.
Then you have the £7.99 PC Game Pass, which is the same as the console version except for PC gamers, with the addition of EA Play – an additional library of Electronic Arts titles not available on the standard console Gamepass.
And finally, the £10.99 Ultimate version gives you everything the PC and console game passes offer, plus cloud gaming. So if you’re planning to venture into Xbox streaming, this is the plan you’ll need.
If you’re not sure about paying £10.99, Microsoft has offered a rather generous all-access trial option for UK consumers of just £1 for three months, perfect if you’re about to commit. If it’s not for you, a few simple clicks and you can cancel before recurring payments kick in. Don’t forget to undo it.
How to improve your internet speed for Xbox cloud gaming?
It is recommended to use a broadband internet connection for the best gaming experience when using Xbox streaming. You will need at least 10 Mbps data connectivity or minimum 5 GHz Wi-Fi speed to ensure a strong connection. If you have a faster internet speed, you will experience a smoother and stronger connection with low latency.
If you are unsure of the best broadband to get for gaming, you can read our full guide on the subject and see if it’s time to upgrade. Then browse our best broadband deals to see if it’s time to upgrade or change.
How to Make Xbox Cloud Gaming Less Slow
A common problem with cloud gaming is latency, which refers to the speed at which data travels between its source and its destination. If the latency is not low enough, games can become unplayable. For example, higher latency will take your game longer to respond to your button presses or your screen will stutter.
Here are some tips to improve your internet speed.
The closer you are to the router the better, line of sight is ideal.
Remove anything that might interfere with the signal.
Avoid VPNs, as they add an additional server through which the signal must pass.
Pause apps/devices that might be eating up your bandwidth
Use optimized Wi-Fi. 5GHZ is recommended but an Ethernet connection is always superior
Which countries support Xbox cloud gaming?
Microsoft has its own remote servers scattered around the world. This helps them reach far, but also keeps the signals strong and stable. The immediate result is that video signals and button presses travel a shorter distance to its receiver, resulting in a more responsive feel. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is available in over 30 countries, here are a few.
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States. For a complete list Click here.
What games are available on Xbox cloud gaming?
Microsoft has spent years acquiring various indie and established game development studios to bolster its already impressive variety of available titles. In their library you can find fan favorites like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Elder Scrolls, Doom, Forza, Halo, Fallout, Madden, NHL and Need for Speed to name a few- one.
Then there’s an abundance of indie games that can accommodate most gaming palettes. Check here for a better overview of currently available titles.
Is Fortnite free on Xbox?
Fortnite, the most played game in the world right now, is of course available. In fact, you don’t even need to install it or have a paid subscription. All you have to do is go to xbox.com on your web browser and sign in with your free Microsoft account to play Fortnite.
This is a good example of how Xbox cloud gaming works. No need for the actual game, just access Microsoft’s servers and within minutes you’re streaming. As is the case with free games, you can spend extra money to access other aspects of the game, but it’s essentially available for free on the Xbox UK cloud.
How does Xbox cloud gaming compare to other cloud gaming services?
Google has launched a cloud gaming service called Google Stadia. The idea is the same as Loud Xbox games, except you’ll need to purchase the Google Controller which also acts as a dongle to access online content. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to offer the same range of games yet. Xbox also has a much wider selection of games and offers a more stable server platform.
Nvidia’s GeForce Now
Nvidia’s GeForce Now has been available since 2015 and, much like its competitors, offers access to games via cloud streaming to devices you may already own.
Amazon’s cloud streaming platform is currently only available in the US and is an add-on option to an Amazon Prime account. Still in its infancy, we’ll have to wait a bit before we can try it in the UK.
Is cloud gaming better than downloading?
One of the most appealing aspects of Xbox cloud gaming is that you don’t need an Xbox console to play. But what is the trade-off? You are bound by the strength of your Internet connection. A poor connection equals an unpleasant gaming experience, and even with the best available bandwidth, all games played through the cloud will have restrictions.
For example, the screen resolution is capped at 1080p, so you can’t play in 4K. HD audio is also not an option and high graphics modes and frame rate boost modes will not be available either. You can’t record clips or live stream your own gameplay, and the much-loved Quick Resume feature is disabled. In fact, you will have longer loading times.
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of cloud gaming compared to downloading and installing on a console: