(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft has finally opened up the Xbox Cloud Gaming beta - formally known as Project xCloud - to all on iOS devices not via the app store but instead via a weblink.
Xbox Cloud Gaming is, therefore, now one of the only cloud game streaming services available to iOS users, as Google's Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now are not yet fully out for Apple devices. While there is Valve’s Steam Link app, which mostly streams games from your home PC, as well as services like Remotr and Rainway, these aren't cloud-based game streaming services with a catalogue of titles.
Unlike Steam Link, you don’t actually need a physical device in your home to play Xbox Cloud games, which is a major benefit of the service as compared to some of the competition.
What is Xbox Cloud Gaming beta for iOS?
Microsoft's open beta allows any Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber to play over 100+ titles on their iPhone or iPad, however, to comply with App Store policies, Microsoft said its "preview experience on iOS may look and feel different for those who have been testing on Android".
Ultimately, this means that Microsoft won't be able to release Cloud Gaming as an actual app on the iOS App Store, rather, users access the service by using a weblink before Microsoft asks players to bookmark the page onto their home screen to give it the same appearance as a genuine App Store app.
The reasoning behind this lies in the fact that Apple requires developers to pay a 30 per cent fee for all in-app purchases, and since Microsoft is offering tons of gaming titles on iOS, the company would be required to send a massive portion of their revenue over to Apple. By utilising the webpage workaround, Microsoft is able to avoid this 30 per cent surcharge.
Who can test the beta?
Anybody can play the Xbox Cloud Gaming beta on iOS as long as you're a subscriber to Microsoft's Game Pass Ultimate service, which costs $14.99 / £10.99 per month.
- A Microsoft account associated with your Xbox gamertag.
- An iPhone or iPad running iOS 13.0 or greater (must support Bluetooth version 4.0).
- A Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S controller or a Xbox Elite Series 1 or 2 Wireless Controller.
- Access to a Wi-Fi (5Ghz) or data connection (must support 10Mbps-down bandwidth).
- Optional: A third-party controller mount for phone-based gamers.
Which games can you play in the beta?
Microsoft is offering over 100 games at the moment, ranging from Star Wars Battlefront II, The Elder Scrolls series (including Skyrim), PES 2021, Destiny 2, MLB The Show 21, Sniper Elite 4, Gears 5, DayZ and more.
Which countries support Xbox Cloud Gaming?
Currently, Xbox Cloud Gaming is available in the following 22 countries:
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Czech Republic
- South Korea