Project xCloud is almost here.
Microsoft’s long-hyped entry into the realm of cloud gaming is coming on Sept. 15, starting with Android devices. In practical terms, that means Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will be able to play more than 100 games on their Android smartphones or tablets.
You’ll of course need a decently fast internet connection. And the service is limited to just 22 markets around the globe at first – including, according to Microsoft: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
But it’s happening. Starting on Sept. 15, you’ll be able to turn your Android into Xbox. The list of supported games includes Xbox exclusive favorites like Gears 5, Minecraft Dungeons, and Sea of Thieves as well as third-party hits like Destiny 2 and Yakuza Kiwami 2.
There’s no extra charge for subscribers, either. If you’re already paying $14.99 per month for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you’ll be able to access the streaming library on day one via the Xbox Game Pass app. This is basically Microsoft’s answer to services like Google Stadia and GeForce Now.
I’ve been in the Xbox streaming beta for a number of months, and the service definitely works as promised. You’ll need to have some kind of controller handy to fully enjoy the service, but you can connect via Bluetooth using either an Xbox One or DualShock 4, or any number of third-party options from companies like Razer, 8BitDo, PowerA, and others.
(If you’re in the xCloud beta right now, Microsoft notes that it will continue to be accessible until Sept. 11. After that, it’ll shut down to make way for the proper service launch.)
This is a big move for Microsoft, make no mistake. Xbox Game Pass has already changed the popular view of what a personal gaming library can look like, giving subscribers access to hundreds of titles in exchange for a monthly subscription. The new streaming feature takes that idea one step further by completely factoring out the Xbox console.
Don’t underestimate the importance of that factor. With game streaming, all you’ll need to tap into the Xbox experience is an Android device you might already own, a controller you might also already own, and a $14.99/month subscription. The Sept. 15 launch officially signals a future where Xbox is defined more as a platform than as hardware.
That’s a big shift for an industry that has traditionally been built around the (now extremely dated) idea of console wars. Xbox Series X is still coming, and there are plenty of reasons someone might want to buy it. But the point with something like xCloud is, you don’t have to do that.
For now, game streaming is just confirmed for Android devices on Sept. 15. It’s a safe bet that iOS will follow suit at some point, but whatever plans there may be, Microsoft isn’t talking about that yet. But September – a month when Apple traditionally delivers big iPhone reveals – is fast-approaching, and an Apple event is the most likely moment for an “xCloud on iPhone!’ reveal.
There’s also not a full list out yet for the game streaming library. But as you can see in the titles revealed so far, there’s a healthy mix:
• Ark: Survival Evolved
• Bleeding Edge
• Costume Quest 2
• Crackdown 3 (campaign)
• Destiny 2
• F1 2019
• Forza Horizon 4
• Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
• Gears of War 4
• Gears 5 Ultimate Edition
• Halo 5: Guardians
• Halo Wars: Definitive Edition
• Halo Wars 2
• Halo: The Master Chief Collection
• Halo: Spartan Assault
• Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
• Killer Instinct Definitive Edition
• Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
• Minecraft Dungeons
• The Outer Worlds
• Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
• Ori and the Will of the Wisps
• Quantum Break
• ReCore: Definitive Edition
• Ryse: Son of Rome
• Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Edition
• State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
• Sunset Overdrive
• Super Lucky’s Tale
• Tell Me Why
• The Bard’s Tale Trilogy
• Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
• Wasteland 3
• Wasteland Remastered
• Yakuza Kiwami 2