Xbox Cloud Gaming for PC beta invites will start going out tomorrow

Xbox Cloud Gaming beta
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft said in December 2020 that its Xbox Cloud Gaming service would be coming to PC sometime in the first half of 2021, allowing Game Pass subscribers to instantly stream games rather than having to download them first Today it followed through on that promise, to a limited extent at least, announcing that beta test invitations will start going out to "select" Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers tomorrow, April 20.

"The limited beta is our time to test and learn; we’ll send out more invites on a continuous basis to players in all 22 supported countries, evaluate feedback, continue to improve the experience, and add support for more devices," Microsoft said. "Our plan is to iterate quickly and open up to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in the coming months so more people have the opportunity to play Xbox in all-new ways."

There are a few qualifications (aside from being a Game Pass Ultimate subscriber) required in order to take part in the test. Access to the service will be supported through either the Edge or Chrome browsers (or Safari if you're on an iOS device—the beta is also coming to Apple phones and tablets), and you'll need a controller, either wired or Bluetooth, or "custom touch controls" for the games that support them on iOS. 

Microsoft said that the early stage of the test will be dedicated to "fine-tuning features and creating a consistent experience across platforms, while making sure games are running their best." More than 100 Xbox Game Pass games will be available through the cloud, and more invitations to the test will be sent out in future waves.

An FAQ clarifies that there's no option to sign up for access to the beta—batches of invitations will be sent to existing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers via email. More information on the beta is available through the Xbox Cloud Gaming Support Hub on Reddit.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.