Microsoft has moved its browser-based Xbox Cloud Gaming out of beta, opening up the service to everyone running Windows 10 or Apple phones or tablets. The only requirement being that users will have to be Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members of course to access the titles on the service.
The service works with Microsoft’s own Edge browser, as well as Chrome and Safari, so that will cover the vast majority of users and devices.
Catherine Gluckstein, VP & head of product, Xbox Cloud Gaming, said: “With billions of active Windows 10 PCs, iOS devices and Android phones, we want you to have new opportunities to play the deepest, most immersive games whenever and wherever you choose. Simply put, we’re bringing the Xbox experience directly to the devices you use most.”
The move follows a successful beta period, with the cloud gaming service having successfully both sidestepped Apple’s aversion to cloud gaming apps on its App Store, as well as bringing the service in a frictionless manner to innumerable Windows and Android devices.
Microsoft remains cagey about the takeup of its cloud service, although as part of Xbox Game Pass, it’s well positioned as a long-term strategy for growth beyond the traditional market limits of console and PC gaming – so its immediate success isn’t critical to Microsoft’s short or even medium term strategy.
The announcement came alongside news that the service is now using Xbox Series X hardware as well (presumably not exclusively at this stage but that’s not made clear), following an announcement just before E3 that it would start to shift over from Xbox One-based hardware. The new hardware will run games at 1080 and 60fps, in order to strike a balance between low latency and high quality across as many devices as possible.
“Today marks a key milestone in our journey to bring the Xbox experience to all gamers, and we can’t wait for you to begin playing. I remember about three years ago, the first time I picked up a phone and played a cloud game, using nothing but touch controls. It’s a moment I’ll never forget, where the beauty of the graphics mixed with the creativity of technology to create something truly magical. So, from Team Xbox to you, we hope you experience more joy and connection through gaming anywhere and everywhere,” continued Gluckstein.
The next step in the Xbox Cloud Gaming roadmap looks to be a dedicated streaming device for the service along with building it directly into TVs in app form.