What Is Cloud Gaming With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

What to know about Microsoft's game streaming platform

Cloud gaming (Beta) with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (formerly Project xCloud) is Microsoft's version of cloud gaming that launches September 15, 2020. Here's everything you could possibly want to know about the streaming platform and how you can use it. 

How Does Cloud Gaming With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Work?

Cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a form of the Xbox streaming service. That means you can play Xbox One games and more from your Android smartphone or tablet. 

Cloud gaming With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is available only on Android devices. Microsoft currently has no plans to support iOS devices, due to complaints about the App Store's review process.

All the games are hosted on remote servers with you accessing them via your device and streaming the content. It means you don't have to worry about owning any Xbox system. All you need is a compatible internet-connected device and a Wi-Fi or data connection fast enough to stream the game. 

It's similar to Nvidia's GeForce Now service, as well as Google Stadia. Both services also allow players to play high-end games while on the move through smartphones and tablets. 

Potentially, Microsoft could be the best of the bunch though. It has a vast library of over 3,000 Xbox and PC games, plus it believes it will avoid the speed and latency issues that have plagued services like Google Stadia in recent times, thanks to having thousands of data centers at its disposal. 

How Do I Use Cloud Gaming With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

The Project xCloud beta/preview program ended in early August of 2020 when the xCloud streaming service was officially added to Xbox Game Pass.

Until the launch date in mid-September, gamers with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership can preview the service on their Android phone or tablet.

Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate website.

Do I Need a Games Console? 

No! The point of Cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is anyone can stream games directly from the cloud, even if they don't already own an Xbox games console. Just remember, you do need an Xbox wireless controller though. 

What Games Are Available? 

The launch will include 150-plus games, including major hits like Crackdown 3, Destiny 2, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, and Halo 5. 

Microsoft says that hundreds of games will be available down the road, covering both Xbox One and Xbox 360 line-ups. PC games are also expected to be available too. Unlike other streaming services, any games that already work on an Xbox One will work here and don't require altering by game developers. That should mean plenty of games to play. 

Are There Any Downsides to Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

Cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate sounds great on paper, but there may be some potential disadvantages to the service.

The main issue is it will heavily depend on your internet connection. If you live somewhere with a poor internet connection or are restricted to how much data you can use each month, a streaming service isn't a great idea. You may be limited in what you can accomplish, or be charged a lot more by your ISP compared to simply buying a games console. 

There may also be issues with lag as the system is so heavily dependent on the internet connection. In particular, when playing against other players, there might be some slowdown issues that could affect playability.

And, of course, you can't play anything offline. You need to be connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data at all times. 

On the plus side, unlike Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now, there won't be any issues when it comes to game availability due to the connection to Xbox.