What is Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate? The short of it is that it's the new streaming service from Microsoft's Xbox team. It used to be available in a closed beta that required an invite, and allowed you to stream games to your Android smartphone.
There's a varied collection of titles to choose from. Both new and old. If you want to learn more about Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, this guide aims to break it down for you with more detail.
What is Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and when is it available?
Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is Microsoft's cloud gaming platform that allows users to play games from a curated Xbox catalog.
It works by streaming the games from Microsoft's servers (which are a massive collection of Xbox units) on your device of choice. Which at the moment is limited to just Android smartphones, in addition to iOS with a little more limitation.
The service officially launches on September 15. So if you already have an account with Game Pass you can login and play games on your phone anytime you like starting tomorrow. It is worth noting though, that Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is still going to be in a beta status.
It won't be closed anymore though, and anyone can use it after signing up for Game Pass and paying the subscription fee.
Though Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is still going to be in beta, it'll officially be part of a bundle with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and it won't cost anything extra. Meaning you'll pay the same $15 a month you'd always pay. On top of that, you can even sign up for $1 for the first month if you're a new subscriber.
Where is Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate available?
At launch on September 15, Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will be available in 22 countries around the globe.
This includes the US, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechia (Czech Republic), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
How much does Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cost?
Now that Cloud Gaming is officially going to be part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, it'll be $15.
But what you're paying for isn't really the Cloud Gaming. You're paying for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and the cloud gaming service is now just part of that.
So technically, it's still free like it used to be when it was available as xCloud in the closed beta. You can also sign up for $1 for the first month if you're a new subscriber.
So the value there is really pretty good. Keep in mind the $15 pricing is based on US cost. And the actual cost may change depending on what country you're subscribing in. Even in the US, you'll still want to factor in your local state sales tax as most states will have them.
What devices are compatible with Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?
Virtually anything running on Android is the shortest answer here. And, it's not really far off the mark.
You can use Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on an Android smartphone or tablet as long as it meets the basic requirements. The first of those basic requirements is that the phone needs to be running on Android 6.0 or later.
This means if your device isn't on Marshmallow (it should be as most devices have been for years) the service won't be accessible. The other thing your device needs is Bluetooth 4.0 support or later.
That's really it. If your device meets those two things, you can play games through Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. And it does work with both phones and tablets.
Compared to Stadia and GeForce NOW, it's still available across less devices. But that may change down the line.
What are the supported gamepads?
While the list of supported gamepads is not as big as with GeForce NOW, it's not limited to just one gamepad.
Optimally you might want to use the Xbox One controller, as these are Xbox games you're playing and they might work best with that. You can use others though. The Razer Junglecat is a supported gamepad, for example. As is the more recently launched Razer Kishi.
You can also use the DualShock 4 as Microsoft added support for it earlier this year. It may also work with other Bluetooth gamepads, but Microsoft hasn't confirmed this.
Officially, Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate actually supports the smallest number of controllers of the four cloud gaming platforms that are out there. As both Stadia and GeForce NOW officially support more than three gamepads, and Shadow basically supports any peripheral you can think of as long as it's Bluetooth.
The good news for most people, is that they likely already have an Xbox One controller or a DualShock 4. The only catch with the Xbox controller is that it needs to be a Bluetooth model and not all of them are.
What games can you play on Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?
Many, many games. Some of the heavy hitters include Black Desert, NieR: Automata, Halo 5: Guardians, Borderlands 2, Destiny 2, Forza Motorsport 7, and Gears 5. Those are just a handful.
Altogether, Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will have over 150 games that you can play at launch. In addition to the titles listed above, this includes Bloodstained: Ritual of The Night, Darksiders III, Dead by Daylight, Dead Cells, Fallout 76, Halo 3: ODST, Minecraft Dungeons, Xeno Crisis, The Elder Scrolls Online and much, much more.
150 games is also too many to list out entirely. So if you want to see the full list of launch titles, you can do so by going here.
Also worth noting is that some of the newer games are titles which retail normally anywhere from $40-$60. So again, this shows that Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate has some pretty insane value. We'll continue to state this. If you aren't signed up for the service, and you like playing games, do yourself a favor and sign up.
It's also highly likely that the number of games will increase as time goes on. Microsoft has confirmed that this is a multi-year project. Which leaves a lot of room for more games to be added as it continues to test the service and move it from a beta to a fully launched offering.
Can you stream games over mobile data?
You should be able to play over mobile data without any issues. Though right now there's no option to select mobile data within the Game Pass app, which is where you'll access the cloud gaming from September 15 onward.
Playing over mobile data or Wi-Fi was an option that was allowed with the Game Streaming Preview app when the service was just xCloud. So there shouldn't be any changes there once things are live tomorrow.
It's also possible that Microsoft won't have any toggles at all. And the service may just work whether you're on mobile data or not. And to be quite honest that would be ideal.
Because it would mean less for the player to have to deal with. Simply open the app, find a game you want to play, and launch it. Without having to worry about whether or not you have the right internet connection type selected.
Are there any additional features?
You should have access to most features you'd get with Xbox. Whether you're playing on the console or on PC.
Which means achievements, chatting with friends online, earning rewards points for completing quests, and much more. You should also be able to play over mobile data, adjust your online visibility if you want to play games in private without interruptions, and even play games online with friends.
Not necessarily at launch, but perhaps later in the year, Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will even have access to EA Play.
Earlier this year Microsoft announced EA Play was coming to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at no additional charge. And it confirmed that this holiday season (at some point), that users playing games over the cloud on Android would get access.
So there's no clear time frame on that one, but it is coming sometime in the near future. It's just a matter of when. There's also cool playlist feature that lets you keep track of which games you're wanting to play. If you like to have any sort of organization set up for your gaming.
What are the requirements to use the service?
The list for this is pretty small and mostly lenient. You do need to have these four components to play, but there is some variability to them.
You'll need to have a smartphone or tablet that can run the app, which needs to have Android 6.0 and Bluetooth 4.0. You will also need to have a compatible controller, whether it be an Xbox One Wireless controller, or a DualShock 4 or any of the supported Bluetooth gamepads. Such as the Razer Kishi.
Of course you also need internet. If you're playing via WiFi then you will need to be connected to a 5GHz internet connection. If you're playing via mobile data, then your connection will need to have at least 10Mbps download speeds.
This isn't too hard to achieve as many major metropolitan areas have speeds that are way faster than that. And to be honest the faster the better. You don't want to be shooting for the bare minimum here where cloud gaming is concerned.
Lastly, you need to have the Xbox Game Pass app installed on your device and you need to be logged into it, and you also need a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Meet all of those requirements and you're good to start playing games.
(Note: you do not need the Game Streaming app picture above now that the service is part of Game Pass. You need the Game Pass app instead.)
What are the benefits of Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?
In general? Games, virtually anywhere. Over other services? Again, games. There's a ton of value here because it's available as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate now.
It's no longer free (technically, since you need to be subscribed to Game Pass Ultimate to use it), but if you already had Game Pass Ultimate then you aren't paying anything extra. So you could consider it to be free. The biggest benefit of course is the large game list.
Arguably, the game library on GeForce NOW is bigger. But only if you have purchased the games. Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will offer over 150 games at launch. And more will be added down the line.
Another benefit is the ability to play over mobile data properly. This part of the service should just work. So if you're not connected to Wi-Fi, games should still be playable over the cloud as long as you have a mobile internet connection.
You may not have the best experience if the mobile data connection isn't very strong or fast, but it's there nonetheless.
Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also works with Android tablets in addition to Android phones. Obviously, if you have an Android tablet, this might be ideal as the screen is bigger. But the phone is more portable, and it allows you to truly play it anywhere you have an internet connection as you can slap on a controller like the Razer Kishi.
What are the downsides?
There aren't many really. You could argue that a fair portion of the games are older. But, Microsoft is always going to be adding more in and there are still plenty of newer games available too.
One downside is that it's not available via iOS, thanks to Apple's regulations. So if you have an iOS device you unfortunately can't enjoy this awesome service.
It's also possible that the streaming quality may not work that well. This depends mostly on your connection conditions, but there are times where that doesn't matter. Gears 5 for example didn't work well for me on my 5GHz connection with a 350Mbps download speed.
The only other notable issue is that there aren't many gamepads that are supported. Officially the service works with the Razer Junglecat, the Razer Kishi, the Xbox One wireless, and the DualShock 4. This will expand over time more than likely, but right now you're limited to just those options.
Is Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate right for you?
Unless you absolutely hate being able to play AAA games for free, then yes. Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is perfect for any gamer.
There's a ton of stuff on offer with it. From over 150 games to compatibility with multiple types of Android devices. And, soon enough you'll get even more games thanks to the inclusion of EA Play.
All for the same monthly $15 cost that many were likely already paying just for Game Pass Ultimate for PC and console game access. Even if you never plan to play games on an Xbox, this still allows you the ability to play games on PC and on mobile. And that alone is enough of a reason to check it out.