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(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft has its own cloud gaming platform. Called Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - also often referred to as Xbox Cloud Gaming - it offers more than 300 Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games to be played on PC, Mac, Chromebook, Android and iOS devices over a data connection.

It is also being tested on Xbox consoles themselves, by those on the Xbox Insider program, so will soon enable Xbox One owners to play Xbox Series X games. And Microsoft hopes to introduce a smart TV app, even its own streaming dongle in the future too.

Here's everything you need to know about the Xbox cloud games service, including what devices are compatible and all the available games.

What is Xbox Cloud Gaming?

Called "Project xCloud" during its earlier days, Xbox Cloud Gaming is Microsoft's game streaming platform. It runs as a complementary service to its Xbox One and Xbox Series X / Series S games consoles and is available in 26 countries as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.

It is a streaming service, in that all games are hosted on custom Xbox Series X hardware located at remote servers around the world. Live gameplay video is sent to a compatible device over the internet. In return, controller codes are sent in the other direction so, for all intents and purposes, it feels like you are playing a game loaded on the device itself.

It is not a new idea; PlayStation Now has been available on Sony consoles for several years; Nvidia has GeForce Now available on PCs and mobile devices; and Cloud Gaming's major rival, Google's Stadia, launched in 2019. However, Microsoft's service is not a separate offering - it is a no-cost addition to its existing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership scheme.

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Microsoft believes Cloud Gaming is one of the best game streaming services around because it utlises the firm's enormous network of data centres around the world. This ensures game requests can be served locally rather than across continents, potentially reducing latency by shortening the distance between the end user and the data centre.

Latency is the enemy of cloud gaming, often adding many milliseconds between button presses and actions performed on screen. And, while that doesn't sound like much, milliseconds are vital when it comes to gaming. Say you press the button to shoot an onrushing enemy, a few milliseconds of latency can be the difference between hitting them and not. Or, in a driving game such as the forthcoming Forza Horizon 5, the difference between successfully drifting around a corner or ending up wrapped around a tree.

Does that mean my Xbox console will be defunct in future?

Xbox Cloud Gaming is not designed to replace games consoles. Instead, it runs parallel to the company's machines, offering many of the same games and even allowing for save games to be picked up and continued no matter which device you use: mobile, console or even PC.

As it is available as part of the company's Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership scheme, which also includes over 300 games to download to the Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, 200 games for PC, Xbox Live Gold and EA Play, it is seen very much as an extension to console gaming, not a replacement.

Essentially, Cloud Gaming is an ideal way for you to carry-on your Xbox experience on a portable device, whether you are at home or out and about.

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When and where can I use xCloud?

Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is available in 26 countries as a dedicated app for Android devices. Windows PC users can play Cloud Gaming titles through the native Xbox app, and it is also available via a web browser on iOS, Mac and Chromebook. Safari, Chrome and Microsoft's own Edge browser are all supported.

For Android, you need to download the Xbox Game Pass app from Google Play or the Samsung Galaxy Store. You can play cloud games through the app, plus wishlist and even download games to your Xbox console or Windows PC.

If you want to play through iPhone or iPad, you need to head to xbox.com/play on your device's Safari web browser. You can then create a web app for your homescreen that jumps straight into the service on a single tap. Here are our in-depth instructions on how to get that working: How to play Xbox Cloud Gaming on iPhone and iPad.

Supported iPhones and iPads are below. Others might work, but these are the iOS and iPadOS devices verified by Microsoft.

  • iPad Air (3rd Gen)
  • iPad Air (4th Gen)
  • iPad Pro 11 2nd Gen
  • iPad Mini 5th Gen
  • iPad Mini 6th Gen
  • iPad 8th Gen
  • iPad 9th Gen
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max

You can also play directy in a web browser on Mac and Chromebook, although owners of the latter can also install the dedicated Android app on their laptop directly.

To play on a Windows PC, just open the Xbox app and follow the instructions.

Xbox will also launch Cloud Gaming accessibility on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S later this year (already available for select Xbox Insiders). This will allow Xbox One owners to play Xbox Series X versions of games (albeit with restrictions, such as resolution). Xbox Series X/S owners will be able to play games without having to install them first, which will save on storage space.

Among the countries covered are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK and the US. You can see a full list of countries with Cloud Gaming support here.

Several games on Cloud Gaming now feature touch controls. Mostly though, you will also need a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One Wireless Controller to play the titles effectively. Xbox also recommends you acquire a phone mount for the controller, unless you are playing using a tablet.

The mount is reasonably inexpensive, however.

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How much does Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cost?

As the long version of its name suggests, Cloud Gaming is free to all those with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. The all-you-can-eat digital download service for Xbox One, Series X/S and Windows 10, is £10.99 / $14.99 per month.

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What is Xbox Remote Play?

As well as Cloud Gaming, Xbox Remote Play is available. Using the same technology, gamers can use their own Xbox One or Series X/S consoles as a Cloud Gaming server and therefore stream their own games to a portable device.

PlayStation offers something similar in the form of PS4 and PS5 Remote Play, but Xbox Remote Play is different as you aren't restricted to having to be on the same home network, you can also stream over a mobile data connection.

You can find out more about it here.

Xbox Cloud Gaming games list

Here is the current list of all the available games on Cloud Gaming (as of 30 September 2021):

  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Aragami 2
  • ARK: Survival Evolved
  • Art of Rally
  • Astroneer
  • Atomicrops
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battlefield 1 Revolution
  • Battlefield V
  • Battletoads
  • Beholder Complete Edition
  • Black Desert
  • Bleeding Edge
  • Blinx: The Time Sweeper
  • Bloodroots
  • Boyfriend Dungeon
  • Breathedge
  • Bridge Constructor Portal
  • Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling
  • Call of the Sea
  • Carrion
  • Carto
  • Celeste
  • Children of Morta
  • Cities Skylines
  • ClusterTruck
  • Code Vein
  • Conan Exiles
  • Control
  • Crackdown 3
  • Craftopia
  • Cricket 19
  • Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
  • Cris Tales
  • Crown Trick
  • Curse of the Dead Gods
  • Cyber Shadow
  • Dandy Ace
  • Dark Alliance
  • Darkest Dungeon
  • DayZ
  • Dead by Daylight
  • Dead Cells
  • Deep Rock Galactic
  • Descenders
  • Desperados III
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  • Destiny 2
  • Destroy All Humans!
  • Dirt 5
  • Dishonored 2
  • Dishonored Definitive Edition
  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
  • Disneyland Adventures
  • Dodgeball Academia
  • Donut County
  • Doom (2016)
  • Doom (1993)
  • Doom 3
  • Doom 64
  • Doom Eternal
  • Doom II (Classic)
  • Double Dragon Neon
  • Double Kick Heroes
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Dragon Quest Builders 2
  • Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition
  • Drake Hollow
  • Eastshade
  • eFootball PES 2021 Season Update
  • Elite Dangerous
  • Empire of Sin
  • Enter The Gungeon
  • F1 2019
  • Fabe Anninversary
  • Fable II
  • Fable III
  • Fallout 3
  • Fallout 4
  • Fallout 76
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Farming Simulator 19
  • Five NIght's at Freddy's
  • Five NIght's at Freddy's 2
  • Five NIght's at Freddy's 3
  • Five NIght's at Freddy's 4
  • Flynn: Son of Crimson
  • For Honor
  • Forager
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  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Frostpunk: Console Edition
  • Fusion Frenzy
  • Gang Beasts
  • Gears 5
  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 3
  • Gears of War 4
  • Gears of War: Judgment
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
  • Gears Tactics
  • Genesis Noir
  • Goat Simulator
  • Going Under
  • Golf with Your Friends
  • Gonner 2
  • Greedfall
  • Grounded
  • Guacamelee! 2
  • Hades
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Halo Wars: Definitive Edition
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Halo: Spartan Assault
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection
  • Haven
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Hello Neighbor
  • Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition
  • Human Fall Flat
  • Hypnospace Outlaw
  • I Am Fish
  • Ikenfell
  • Immortal Reams: Vampire Wars
  • Injustice 2
  • Jetpac Refuelled
  • Joy Ride Turbo
  • Jurassic World Evolution
  • Just Cause 4: Reloaded
  • Kameo
  • Katamari Damacy Reroll
  • Katana Zero
  • Killer Instinct DE
  • Killer Queen Black
  • Last Stop
  • Lemnis Gate
  • Lethal League Blaze
  • Library of Ruina
  • Lonely Mountains: Downhill
  • Lost Words: Beyond the Page
  • Lumines Remastered
  • Madden NFL 20
  • Maneater
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Minecraft: Dungeons
  • Mirror's Edge Catalyst
  • MLB The Show 21
  • Monster Sanctuary
  • Monster Train
  • Moonlighter
  • Morkredd
  • MotoGP 20
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • My Time At Portia
  • Myst
  • Narita Boy
  • Need for Speed Heat
  • Neon Abyss
  • Neoverse
  • New Super Lucky’s Tale
  • NieR:Automata
  • Night in the Woods
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  • No Man’s Sky
  • Nowhere Prophet
  • Nuclear Throne
  • Oblivion
  • Octopath Traveler
  • Omno
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Outlast 2
  • Outriders
  • Overcooked! 2
  • Peggle 2
  • Perfect Dark
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Phogs!
  • Pikuniku
  • Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Ultimate Edition
  • Planet Coaster: Console Edition
  • Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
  • Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2
  • PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)
  • Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
  • Prey
  • Project Winter
  • Psychonauts
  • Psychonauts 2
  • Quake Remastered
  • Rage
  • Rage 2
  • Rain on Your Parade
  • Raji: An Ancient Epic
  • Recompile
  • ReCore: Definitive Edition
  • Remnant: From the Ashes
  • Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
  • River City Girls
  • Rush: A DisneyPixar Adventure
  • Sable
  • ScourgeBringer
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Second Extinction
  • Secret Neighbor
  • Shadow Warrior 2
  • Signs of the Sojourner
  • Skate 3
  • SkateBird
  • Slay the Spire
  • Slime Rancher
  • Sniper Elite 4
  • SnowRunner
  • Spiritfarer
  • Star Renegades
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
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  • State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
  • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones
  • Steep
  • Stellaris
  • Streets of Rage 4
  • Streets of Rogue
  • Subnautica
  • Subnautica: Below Zero
  • Superhot: Mind Control Delete
  • Superliminal
  • Supraland
  • Surgeon Simulator 2
  • Tell Me Why Episode 1 – 3
  • Terraria
  • The Artful Escape
  • The Ascent
  • The Bard’s Tale IV: Directors Cut
  • The Bard’s Tale Remastered and Resnarkled
  • The Bard’s Tale Trilogy
  • The Catch: Carp & Coarse Fishing
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
  • The Elder Scrolls Online
  • The Evil Within
  • The Evil Within 2
  • The Falconeer
  • The Gardens Between
  • The Little Acre
  • The Long Dark
  • The Medium
  • The Outer Worlds
  • The Sims 4
  • The Surge 2
  • The Walking Dead: A New Frontier (Episodes 1 - 5)
  • The Walking Dead: Michonne
  • The Walking Dead: Season Two
  • The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
  • The Wild at Heart
  • theHunter: Call of the Wild
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege - Deluxe Edtion
  • Torchlite III
  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
  • Totally Reliable Delivery Service
  • Touhou Luna Nights
  • Trailmakers
  • Train Sim World 2
  • Tropico 6
  • Twelve Minutes
  • Two Point Hospital
  • Undertale
  • Unravel Two
  • Unruly Heroes
  • Unto The End
  • Viva Piñata
  • Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise
  • Warhammer Vermintide 2
  • Wasteland Remastered
  • Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
  • Wasteland 3
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  • We Happy Few
  • What Remains of Edition Finch
  • Wilmot's Warehouse
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  • Wolfenstein: YoungBlood
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
  • World War Z
  • Worms Rumble
  • Worms W.M.D
  • Wreckfest
  • Xeno Crisis
  • Yakuza 0
  • Yakuza 3 Remastered
  • Yakuza 4 Remastered
  • Yakuza 5 Remastered
  • Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
  • Yakuza Kiwami
  • Yakuza Kiwami 2
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon
  • Yes, Your Grace
  • Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
  • Zombie Army 4: Dead War
Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 13 March 2019.