Microsoft has made a major move into the cloud gaming space with Project xCloud, which now has some measure of connectivity with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. While the full release of Project xCloud on Android is planned for September 15, Android users can already download a beta version of the app and try this Game Pass connectivity for free. If you're an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber interested in participating, here's what you need to do in order to get gaming.
A Microsoft representative told The Verge that Project xCloud is "entering a limited beta period to ensure a smooth transition of the cloud gaming experience to the Xbox Game Pass app on Android." It's best to realize that this Game Pass and Project xCloud beta is something that Microsoft says is "critical to providing the best possible experience for members at launch" but not "indicative of the final experience or library."
In other words, you may run into some problems, but providing feedback based on your experience could be vital.
Step 1: Download the Project xCloud beta from the Google Play Store
Obviously, if you want to participate in the Project xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Beta, you'll need to download the app for it. Simply search "Xbox Game Pass (Beta)" and you should find a page for it on the Google Play Store. It's only 43.91 MB, so it won't take up that much space on your phone.
That said, it is only available on Android, as Apple believes that apps like xCloud violate their community guidelines despite similar services like Apple Arcade and Netflix existing on the platform. If you have an Android phone, the transition should be pretty painless.
Step 2: Sign up or log into your Game Pass account
As soon as you boot up the Xbox Game Pass (Beta) app, you're asked to sign in. If you already have an existing Xbox Live account with Game Pass Ultimate on it, you should just follow the required steps to sign in. This process will go even faster if you're already logged into this account for other Xbox apps on your phone. Once you're signed up or signed in, simply tap "Let's Play"
Step 3: Pick a game on the cloud tab and play
Once you are all signed in, you just need to find a game you want to play now. There are tabs for the available PC, Console, and Cloud game lineups, so make sure you're viewing the games in the Cloud tab. While Microsoft has made it clear that around 100 games will be available on launch, only some titles made the cut for the beta.
First-party titles like Grounded, Gears 5, and Forza Horizon 4 are highlights on the service, though the following 38 games are all playable via cloud gaming without any downloads as of August 13, 2020:
- A Plague Tale: Innocence
- ARK: Survival Evolved
- Battle Chasers: Nightwar
- Bleeding Ege
- Crackdown 3
- Felix the Reaper
- For The King
- Forza Horizon 4: Standard Edition
- Frostpunk: Console Edition
- Gears 5 Ultimate Edition
- Gears of War 4
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
- Golf With Your Friends
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Halo Wars: Definitive Edition
- Halo Wars 2: Standard Edition
- Halo: Spartan Assault
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection
- Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
- Journey to the Savage Planet
- Killer Instinct: Definitive Edition
- Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Sea of Thieves
- State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
- Streets of Rage 4
- The Bard's Tale Trilogy
- theHunter: Call of the Wild
- Untitled Goose Game
- Wasteland Remastered
- Wasteland 2: Directors Cut
Just pick any of these games are you'll be able to boot it up straight from the app. An animation of a rocket launching should play as your games sync up and you'll ultimately be asked to connect a controller via USB or Bluetooth to play. From here, you can just test out the service and report any issues to Microsoft.
It's an easy process that any Android user can get into, so it's worth checking out if the potential of cloud gaming excites you.
Is the Project xCloud Xbox Game Pass Ultimate available on iOS devices?
The unfortunate and short answer is no. Apple doesn't allow xCloud on its devices, so it's unlikely that we'll ever see the beta or the full version popup on iPads and iPhones.
As we wrote previously, Apple believes that apps like xCloud violate their community guidelines despite similar services like Apple Arcade and Netflix existing on the platform.
Project xCloud is scheduled for a full launch on Android devices September 15, 2020.