Microsoft's Project xCloud Being Added to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate This Fall
Microsoft has consistently been on a roll lately when it comes to new features, announcements, and (soon) game reveals. The company has set itself up into a strong position for the upcoming next-generation of consoles, whether it be through the support of backward compatibility or the expansion of their Game Pass service. In the case of the latter, that's exactly what's happening yet again. This time, however, it's not dealing with the addition of new games to the service (it already has so many, to begin with). Rather, Microsoft now plans to bring its Project xCloud streaming technology to Xbox Game Pass. More specifically, the service will be bundled in with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription at NO additional cost, which is a huge get. The news was announced via the Xbox Wire from the one-and-only Xbox head Phil Spencer himself.
"With cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet," Spencer writes. "And because Xbox Live connects across devices, you can play along with the nearly 100 million Xbox Live players around the world. So when Halo Infinite launches, you and your friends can play together and immerse yourselves in the Halo universe as Master Chief - anywhere you go and across devices." The Game Pass Ultimate subscription currently gets you access to both Xbox Game Pass for console AND PC, as well as a subscription to Xbox Live Gold bundled in. Starting in September, xCloud will be included in this deal through supported countries, which mainly include the U.S., South Korea, Canada, and many western European countries. xCloud is still in testing phases for iOS devices, though it works superbly on Android phones and tablets.
Through xCloud, the idea is you can stream your Xbox games to your supported phone or tablet and bring console gaming on the go. The quality holds up rather well too, which is impressive considering the amount of juice going into this sort of thing. The biggest draw to it, however, is that your game progress is saved after playing through xCloud, meaning you can pick up where you left off later right from the console. Interestingly, though not surprisingly, Spencer confirmed that Microsoft Kinect games will not be supported going forward. Kinect was Microsoft's experimental motion tracking technology that pervaded the launch of the Xbox One several years ago. Support for the technology, and games developed for it, quickly dropped off as the experiment failed to really stick with the gaming community. It also paints the stark contrast for Microsoft's position when comparing them now to how they were doing during the Xbox One launch; it's like a complete 180 in all the best ways.
Microsoft isn't backing down with the release of Xbox Series X, which feels in many ways like making up for the rough handling of the Xbox One launch. With a huge amount of first-party studios snatched up to make amazing games, and years of continued support for Xbox One, I'd say they're ready to go. Xbox Series X will also be quite notable for its backward compatibility stretching all the way back to the original Xbox. This means players will be able to play across four different generations of Xbox all on one console. It's really impressive, and currently, everyone's waiting to see if Sony will implement some sort of backward compatibility with the PlayStation 5 (whether through the hardware itself or some other type of service). The timing of the news is also perfect as Microsoft prepares their first-party games lineup showcase for July 23rd.