Project xCloud is a cloud gaming service offered by Microsoft that allows you to stream Xbox games right to your device, and this guide is here to help you figure out to sign up for Project xCloud (currently in a closed beta) and start playing games.
Unlike Google's Stadia service, which is technically not in beta and requires a $130 buy-in, xCloud is completely free. For now at least. It also lets you stream games from a varied list without having to buy them.
So while it is cloud gaming like Stadia, it's not the same type of service. If you're a fan of the Xbox console and the games that are available on it, this service is likely worth your time.
How to sign up for Project xCloud
First things first. Signing up for Project xCloud does not guarantee you will get an invite. This is a closed beta and it will continue to be for the time being.
Meaning you may get lucky and you may not. However, you can't get lucky if you don't sign up. And believe me, if you like games, you'll want to at least give this a shot. The games are free. Completely. So there's really nothing to lose.
For starters, to sign up you'll need to first register at the appropriate web page. One of the things you'll need for registration is an Xbox Live account. If you already have one, then simply sign in and continue the on-screen prompts. If you don't, you'll need to set one up first before you can register for xCloud.
After you set up an account or sign in, you'll end up seeing a screen that has enter a few pieces of information, accept the terms and conditions, and then you just need to hit the submit button. That's it for the registration part. Once that's done you just need to sit back and wait.
Microsoft doesn't mention how long it takes to receive an invite or if they even no longer accepting any applications. So cross your fingers.
Download the 'Xbox Game Streaming (Preview)' app
Whether you're selected or not, you should go ahead and download the app you'll need to use this service.
It's called Xbox Game Streaming (Preview), and it's currently available on Google Play. Just like the service, it's free. So install it to be prepared in the event that you get an invite.
If you get an invite to join the Project xCloud beta, this app is where you'll connect your account to the beta and then where you'll access all of the available games. There are more than 50 currently available to play.
So there's quite a few to choose from. Of course to actually play games you'll still need at least one more thing. A controller.
Connect a controller through Bluetooth
There's no on-screen digital controls here. So to play games you will need a controller connected to your device.
Only Bluetooth connections are supported, though that's not really a drawback as you won't have to have the controller tethered to the phone. The good news here is that a wide variety of controllers will work.
You can go the easy route and connect and Xbox One controller. If you have one. But if you don't there may not be a need to rush out and buy one either. There are a number of supported controllers. Options like the Razer Junglecat will do just fine.
Other HID Bluetooth gamepads should work too, though you may need to check. You can even use a DualShock 4 if you have it. I was able to successfully connect a DualShock 4 controller to my Pixel 3a XL and it worked just fine.
Once you're through all that, just select a game and hit the play button. You may or may not get the message to connect a controller using Bluetooth settings. If you're controller is already connected to your phone, and you get the message still, it's fine. Just hit the button that says continue anyway and you shouldn't have issues. Though, this will depend on the controller.
What games are available on Project xCloud? Quite a few
There's a pretty good size list of games you can play. Especially considering this is a beta and Microsoft is probably going to be adding more before the beta is eventually over.
As it stands there are over 50 games, and this includes the likes of Gears 5, Halo 5: Guardians, Forza Motorsport 7 and more. Microsoft even recently added Destiny 2 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection which includes multiple games. One of which is Halo: Reach – one of the best in the series.
You also get access to Ace Combat 7, Devil May Cry 5, Ori and the Blind Forest, SUPERHOT, Tekken 7 and a whole lot of others. In short, you've got a pretty wide library of games to play. All at no cost as long as you get in, and have a controller you can use.
The best part is that it works with just about any Android phone, so there's no limitations there.