Microsoft Launches Limited Xbox Cloud Gaming Beta for Apple Devices & PC

Xbox Game Pass has arrived on iOS devices via web browser starting today April 20, provided you are invited to the limited beta.

Invites are being sent, and folks who are lucky enough to receive one will be able to play hundreds of Xbox Game Pass games via Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari by logging onto to Xbox.com/play.

As per Xbox Wire:

The limited beta is our time to test and learn; we’ll send out more invites on a continuous basis to players in all 22 supported countries, evaluate feedback, continue to improve the experience, and add support for more devices. Our plan is to iterate quickly and open up to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in the coming months so more people have the opportunity to play Xbox in all-new ways.

Xbox Wire

Yours truly has not been invited, as of yet.

[Source: Xbox Wire]

Microsoft in Standoff with Apple – Halts xCloud Public Tests on iOS

You may have heard that Microsoft’s Project xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Are merging on September 15, 2020. That said, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will have access to 100 games from the cloud on their Android phone or tablet.

That’s great for Android owners, who are content sending out green texts, but what about sensible and considerate iPhone owners, like myself?

According to an excellent post from Windows Central, Microsoft has decided to shutter xCloud testing on iOS, allowing the program to expire because Apple is being a real douche.

It’s no secret that Apple has a restrictive approach to the walled garden known as iOS. This can be good at times, because it keeps a lot of shitty apps away from users. However, the Windows Central Post goes into great detail on how Apple’s practices when it comes to the iOS can be viewed as anti-competitive.

Not cool Apple. It’s a given that Microsoft and Apple are going to negotiate terms to get xCloud onto iOS, with the same bells and whistles found on Android. Let’s hope that a resolution is found quickly.

[Source: Windows Central]

Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud to Merge September 15

Microsoft has announced that its impressive Xbox Game Pass service will be merged with its ambitious xCloud service on September 15.

According to the Microsoft’s official blog, Xbox Wire, “…beginning September 15, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members can play more than 100 games from the cloud on their Android phone or tablet.”

Microsoft

So there are some caveats. One needs to be a Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, which is the highest tier at $14.99 per month. Also, you need to have an Android device, which makes you a savage caveman that sends green texts.

With this news Microsoft has announced a slew of compatible xCloud devices for gaming on the go.

Razer Kishi ($100)

PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus ($70)

8BitDo SN30 Pro ($45)

So finally, we have some interesting gaming related news coming out. It’s not about the Series X, but exciting none-the-less.

[Source: Microsoft]

Phil Spencer Throws Water on the Concept of a Streaming Only Xbox – For Now

There has been a lot of speculation of what Microsoft has in store for the next generation. There’s rumors of multiple SKUs, with varying specs. There was even rumors of a streaming only next-gen Xbox powered by xCloud.

Well folks, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, there will be one SKU. In an interview with Gamespot, Spencer has confirmed that the team is “not working on a streaming-only console right now…”

Spencer goes on to state that the team is looking to focus on xCloud as a gaming option on as many devices as possible.

“We have more compute devices around us than we’ve ever had, whether it’s your phone, a Surface Hub or an Xbox… The world where compute devices are gone and it’s all coming from the cloud just isn’t the world that we live in today.”

Gamespot

It’s all about giving you options apparently, for Microsoft. Game at home on a powerful console, or on the road via your phone or tablet, It’s an interesting plan, if Microsoft can deliver.

[Source: Gamespot]

Rumor: Microsoft May Still Be Developing a Streaming Only Mini Console Stadia Killer

At one time, not too long ago, rumor had it that Microsoft had multiple next-gen consoles. There was a high powered top tier console, which is now known as Xbox Scarlett, a mid-tier, and perhaps a streaming only entry.

The mid-tier version was scrapped, but if rumor has it, a cheap, streaming only, powered by xCloud mini Xbox may still be in the works. This console is intended to be a “Stadia Killer.”

Brad Sims, a contributor at Thurrott.com and industry insider posted the YouTube video below claiming that reliable sources indicate that an answer to Stadia is still in the works by Microsoft.

That is some juicy fucking dirt friends. Can be total bullshit, but I love the rumors and speculation leading up to a new console generation.

I’m personally looking forward to Google, Microsoft, and Sony, three heavyweights if you will, throwing haymakers at each other.

Competition is good for gamers.

[Source: Youtube]

Some Lucky Xbox & Windows Insiders Already Testing Out xCloud in the Wild

According to a Twitter user by the moniker IdleSloth1984, Microsoft has rolled out xCloud testing for lucky Xbox and Windows Insiders on Android devices.

I’m an Xbox Insider, but apparently not hot shit enough to be invited. I’m also not unwashed Android user, but an iPhone carrying gentleman, thank you very much, so I don’t want to test out your precious streaming service anyway.

[Source: Twitter]

Google Announces Game Streaming Service

Shazam! Err, Stadia!

Google has officially opened up their kimono and unveiled details of their game streaming service Shazam. The next generation of gaming is getting interesting.

Google bills the service as revolutionary gaming platform which users can play AAA video games across all kinds of screens, without the need of a dedicated console, physical media, or even downloading a game. If you have a device that has the Chrome browser, you can stream Stadia games.

Google promises that the Stadia service will stream games in 4K resolutions at 60 frames per second in HDR with surround sound if you have an internet connection over a 25 Mbps. If your connection is slower, Stadia will decrease resolution or FPS to compensate.

Users can use third party wired controllers, but Google will also be releasing a dedicate controller to accompany Stadia. The controller connects directly to the data center hosting the game rather than your local device. Google claims this improve performance. I reckon the idea is that this is one less relay point, to avoid the dreaded input lag that has existed in previous attempts to stream games from a data center (cough, PlayStation Now, cough).

Of course, the Google Stadia is going to be a direct competitor to gaming stalwarts like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.

Microsoft has already tipped their hand that they are looking to a future of cloud gaming with Project xCloud. Microsoft is envisioning a future where you have dedicated hardware at home for gaming with uncompromising performance, but giving gamers the option to game from anywhere on the cloud via a web connection and mobile device, like an iPad or iPhone.

Phil Spencer

A leaked internal memo from Xbox boss Phil Spencer indicates that things may get very interesting come summer time, as he attempts to rally the troops.

“We just wrapped up watching the Google announcement of Stadia as team here at GDC. Their announcement is validation of the path we embarked on two years ago..

Today we saw a big tech competitor enter the gaming market, and frame the necessary ingredients for success as Content, Community and Cloud. There were no big surprises in their announcement although I was impressed by their leveraging of YouTube, the use of Google Assistant and the new WiFi controller.

But I want get back to us, there has been really good work to get us to the position where we are poised to compete for 2 billion gamers across the planet. Google went big today and we have a couple of months until E3 when we will go big.

We have to stay agile and continue to build with our customer at the center. We have the content, community, cloud team and strategy, and as I’ve been saying for a while, it’s all about execution. This is even more true today.

Energizing times.

Phil”

E3 may very well turn out to be interesting this year. Who doesn’t love watching two big tech behemoths get into a massive pissing match?