xCloud game streaming is coming to Xbox Game Pass and Windows next year

The Outer Worlds
(Image credit: Obsidian)
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Come next year, Xbox Game Pass subscribers will be able to play their games on phones or tablets by way of Project xCloud (opens in new tab), a Stadia-like game streaming service currently being tested by Microsoft.

It's available in preview version right now for Android phones, and it's coming to iOS as well. More importantly, Microsoft also announced that xCloud is coming to Windows PCs in 2020, so if you have Game Pass, and for some reason find cloud streaming preferable to running your games locally, it'll be an option.

We remain skeptical of services like xCloud and Stadia, the latter of which we're testing right now, but every major gaming company is pursuing the dream that started with the now-defunct OnLive: the ability to play any game on any hardware, with nothing but a good internet connection required. (Watch out for those data caps.)

xCloud feels like less of a risk than Stadia, though. Microsoft isn't banking on everyone adopting streaming, but based on its wording today, is adding the service to its overall offering—a bonus for subscribers and game owners. Stadia, on the other hand, currently requires a subscription just to try (there'll be a free version next year) and except for Destiny 2, you'll have to purchase games specifically for the Stadia platform. It's not an additional way to play games you already own, which is a much harder sell.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.