Xbox, PC, phone, tablet — Microsoft is keen to let you play their games wherever and whenever you want.
Overnight, Microsoft confirmed game subscription service Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is coming to PC and iOS in Autumn 2021, where you’ll be able to stream games to your device via the cloud.
This is massive news on multiple fronts, especially for iOS users. Apple has previously made things difficult for Microsoft, requiring any game streaming solution to have individual apps per game, as opposed to the all-in-one solution permitted on Android devices.
Microsoft described this cumbersome limitation as “a bad experience for customers”, which is absolutely spot on. Now, they’re cleverly circumnavigating this by making Xbox Game Pass Ultimate available via mobile web browsers.
Another significant step forward in Xbox’s quest for cloud domination is that Windows 10 PC users will soon have access to the full Game Pass library by using either a browser or the PC-based Xbox app.
As it currently stands, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes two separate libraries: one for consoles, and another for PC. For example, the recently added Control is only available to play on an Xbox One or Series X/S console via the subscription service — for now.
Under Microsoft’s 2021 plans, you could play Control on your PC, iPhone or iPad, streaming it via cloud servers.
In addition to the future PC and iOS plans, some people currently have access to Project xCloud, an invite-only preview program where this Game Pass streaming technology is available to Android users.
One important note of clarification is that the preview and upcoming cloud streaming technology is separate to the mobile console streaming that’s already available across Android and iOS.
Console streaming is not cloud-based — it uses your local network to stream already-installed games from your console to your mobile device. It’s pretty nifty and works smoothly for games like Ori and the Will of the Wisps, which is an impressive feat.
Microsoft’s vision of a platform-agnostic future is getting closer with each passing day. Praise be to playing Forza or Halo in bed or while taking a hot dump — hopefully not at the same time.
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Chris is an award-nominated writer based in Adelaide who specialises in covering video games and technology. He loves Donkey Kong Country, sport, and cats. The Last Jedi is the best one, no questions asked.