Microsoft xCloud | Price, Beta, Release Date, and More | Digital Trends (2023)

Microsoft remains committed to offering Xbox One and PC fans a variety of ways to play their favorite games, whether that be through physical discs, paid digital downloads, free Xbox Games with Gold titles, or the vault from Xbox Game Pass. One upcoming service, Project xCloud, will allow players to enjoy their favorite games instantly, whether they are playing on a console, PC, or even a mobile phone. The service has the potential to completely change how we experience games — and you’ll be able to try it out very soon. Here’s everything we know about Microsoft xCloud.


  • What is Project xCloud?
  • How does Project xCloud work?
  • Pricing
  • The first Android beta
  • The second iOS/PC beta
  • Release dates

What is Project xCloud?

Microsoft xCloud | Price, Beta, Release Date, and More | Digital Trends (1)

Project xCloud is Microsoft’s video game streaming service, allowing players to instantly stream console and PC games to their device of choice using an internet connection (like an Android smartphone, for example). Similar to the system used by Google Stadia, you won’t download the games you play in Project xCloud. Instead, they’ll be streamed from Microsoft’s own servers, which make use of the Azure Cloud architecture that has been implemented in games like Crackdown 3and Titanfall. There are 54 different Azure regions around the globe, which should provide stable service to users regardless of their location.

Project xCloud is not designed to replace traditional disc-based and digital gaming. Instead, Microsoft hopes for it to open up console-quality gaming to those who currently lack the necessary hardware to do so or can only play on mobile devices. It also means players will be able to enjoy a particular Xbox or PC game they’re interested in without having to purchase an entire system.


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It isn’t clear yet what the quality limit will be on Project xCloud. In a blog post in March 2019, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Gaming Cloud Kareem Choudhry said that the company still values the console experience, as it allows for 4K gaming with HDR, while xCloud so far has been focused on mobile devices where resolution isn’t as important as it is for streaming on something like the Stadia.

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How does Project xCloud work?

Microsoft xCloud | Price, Beta, Release Date, and More | Digital Trends (2)

Project xCloud uses Microsoft’s Azure data centers’ hardware to render gaming experiences remotely, and the games will then be streamed to your device of choice. Each server blade has the internals of four Xbox One S systems, if the demonstration video Microsoft released is accurate.

The same cloud saving system currently used to make Xbox Play Anywhere — the cross-buy program for Xbox One and PC — possible will also be used in Project xCloud. This means that if you are playing a game at home and need to leave, you will be able to pick up directly where you left off.

During a demonstration on Inside Xbox in March, we got to see our first look at Project xCloud in action. Running on the Azure data centers’ servers,Forza Horizon 4 was shown streaming to an Android phone, with quality similar to that of the console game. The frame rate appeared to be identical, allowing for an experience that was not pared down in any way to work through streaming.

Project xCloud Blade Animation

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To optimize the experience for mobile players, Microsoft will offer multiple control options. These include the ability to use an Xbox One controller via Bluetooth — a feature all-new Xbox One controllers have — and touch support will also be offered. Rather than using a one-size-fits-all control scheme for touchscreens, games will also get their own unique setups to best suit the actions players will be doing.


Microsoft xCloud | Price, Beta, Release Date, and More | Digital Trends (3)

Thus far, Project xCloud is available for free as part of the Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which costs $15 per month. It is not available in any other form, and Microsoft does not appear ready to launch it as an independent service for the foreseeable future. There are some additional costs if you want to buy a Bluetooth controller specifically for xCloud streaming, but the newer Bluetooth-supporting Xbox controllers work just fine, and if a game supports touch controls, you don’t even need to use a controller.

The first Android beta

While the entirety of xCloud is still technically in beta, Microsoft is holding brief preview betas as part of rolling out the service. The first beta for xCloud supported only Android devices, and officially ended on September 1, 2020, before the launch of the service on Game Pass Ultimate later that month. Beta testers were able to save game progress to their Xbox profiles so it could carry over after the beta was finished.

During this period, more than 50 games were available to play. They include Gears 5, Madden NFL 20, Devil May Cry 5, and Tekken 7, although not all games tested in the beta were later made available via Game Pass.

The second iOS/PC beta

Microsoft was not able to offer xCloud on iOS during its first beta due to a confrontation with Apple’s notoriously strict App Store policies. Microsoft decided on a workaround using a mobile web browser for iOS and skipping App Store headaches altogether. In early 2021, the company announced via a blog post that iOS support for xCloud would begin with a beta for both iOS and PC in spring 2021.

Thus far, no specific release date has been announced. It’s not yet certain if this will be a shorter preview beta as with Android before a more official rollout of iOS support, or if iOS capabilities will be added to xCloud without a preview period.

Release dates

Microsoft xCloud | Price, Beta, Release Date, and More | Digital Trends (4)

After the first beta version, Microsoft declared the release of Project xCloud on September 15th for Android as a bundled package. They announced that the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription could be purchased for $15 each month. As long as users possess Game Pass Ultimate and an Android device with the Android 6.0 version or above, they can play over 100 incredible games on their device for free. Some of these included games consist of Minecraft Dungeons, Destiny 2, Tell Me Why, Gears 5, Sea of Thieves, and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Currently, we are not aware of any plans for unique games using xCloud.

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“As the world around us changes and entertainment is readily available no matter the device, it’s our vision to make games accessible in a variety of scenarios,” Microsoft stated. “All the experiences you expect on Xbox and your gaming profile travel with you on mobile, including your friend’s list, achievements, controller settings, and saved game progress.”

Today, there are several gaming accessories you can buy, particularly for Android gaming using xCloud. These include the Razer Kishi mobile gaming machine, the Moga XP5-X Plus controller with an Android phone accessory, and more options. Microsoft also proceeds to develop regional support, with 2021 strategies for delivering the services to Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

As far as we know, there has not been any word about a stand-alone service for xCloud. Still, Microsoft has regularly mentioned xCloud as a multi-year plan with forthcoming updates. The subsequent stage of this project seems to be bringing support to iOS devices, which Microsoft verified was on route for the spring of 2021.

Microsoft xCloud | Price, Beta, Release Date, and More | Digital Trends (5)

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Why is Xbox Cloud Gaming not working? ›

If you're trying to launch a game and get a blank or black screen after the cloud gaming loading animation: Check to see if there are any available updates to the Xbox app for Windows. Disconnect and reconnect to the network, then try launching the game again.

Is Microsoft xCloud free? ›

As its full 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, is £10.99 / $14.99 per month.

What upload speed do you need for xCloud? ›

We then find that, in order to work, the Xbox Console Streaming system will require a connection that has a bandwidth of at least 4.75 Mbps in upload (it is referred to the actual upload value that sites like Speedtestprovide you), but to work at best they are required by the 9 Mbps and up.

Will Minecraft be on Xbox Cloud Gaming? ›

Microsoft Announces Minecraft Legends Game for Xbox, PC and Cloud, Coming in 2023.

Is GeForce now free? ›

GeForce NOW offers three membership plans: Free, Priority, and Ultimate. You can sign up here.

Is cloud gaming laggy? ›

The problem with cloud gaming is that it doesn't always work properly. The biggest issue that people face is latency. If it isn't low enough, even the best of games can be rendered unplayable.

Is Xbox Cloud Gaming paid? ›

Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming

Though the feature is still technically in beta, it also delivers robust cloud gaming with the $15-a-month Game Pass Ultimate subscription tier ($1 promo price for the first month).

Does Xbox Cloud Gaming work without WiFi? ›

To play Xbox console games from the cloud on your device, you'll need high-speed internet connection (ISP fees apply). Best performance will be achieved at rates of 10 Mbps on mobile devices, 20 Mbps on consoles, PCs and tablets and 5Ghz WiFi or mobile data connection.

How much is xCloud monthly? ›

Apple iCloud Pricing
5 GBFree
50 GB$0.99per month
200 GB$2.99per month
1 TB$9.99per month

Does xCloud use a lot of data? ›

So exactly how much data does xCloud Xbox game streaming use? In our testing, we found it would use about 3GB per hour, no matter what title we played. For comparison, Netflix's automatic mode on mobile only uses 250MB per hour. That's twelve times more data.

Can you play xCloud without Gamepass? ›

Game Pass Ultimate or a supported free to play game is required for cloud gaming.

Is 100 Mbps good for cloud gaming? ›

If you're considering a subscription cloud gaming service like PlayStation Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming, a faster download speed, such as 50 to 100 Mbps (or higher) is beneficial for playing in HD and downloading large game files without significant slow-down.

Does xCloud stream 1080p? ›

While Microsoft has moved Xbox Cloud Gaming to 1080p and 60fps streams in recent months, the company has yet to unlock the full potential of custom Xbox Series X hardware to deliver 4K streams.

What are the cons of Xbox Cloud Gaming? ›

Dependence on the Internet connection

The biggest disadvantage of cloud gaming compared to conventional gaming is its dependence on an Internet connection. As long as your connection is stable, you can experience cloud gaming to the max.

Do Xbox Game Pass games go away? ›

Games you install using Xbox Game Pass remain playable once they've left the Game Pass catalog only when you buy them—and you get a hefty discount when you buy games as an Xbox Game Pass subscriber. When you buy games at a discount, those games are yours to keep.

Will steam have cloud gaming? ›

Valve's Steam Deck will soon not only be a portable PC and emulator, but also a powerful cloud gaming device, thanks to Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge developers working on getting the two internet browsers compatible with the Deck's Linux operating system.

Will steam Add cloud gaming? ›

Your Steam Deck can now use Xbox Cloud Gaming through the Microsoft Edge browser.

Is GeForce NOW 1 hour a day? ›

The Free tier is limited to one hour, Priority subscribers can play for up to six hours per session, and Ultimate subscribers get eight hour sessions. There is no set limit to the number of sessions you can start in a day.

Is GeForce free 1 hour a day? ›

iv. 1-Hour Session Length. Free Members have session lengths lasting up to 1 hour. After the current session expires, these members may join the queue again with standard access (see above). There is no set limit to how many times a member may start a new session in a day, subject to standard access terms.

How expensive is GeForce NOW? ›

Priority members get extended session length (up to 6-hours), priority access (hence the name) and games are played using RTX cards with ray-tracing where applicable. You also get reasonable performance with up to 1080p at 60FPS. Priority membership costs £8.99 / $8.99 / €9.99 per month.

Is 5G better for cloud gaming? ›

The additional throughput and low latency that 5G can enable are crucial to creating an ideal mobile cloud gaming experience.” Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband gives mobile users high-speed access to data in the cloud.

Is cloud gaming 60 fps? ›

Xbox Cloud Gaming: stream quality and performance

To keep a consistent performance, Xbox Cloud Gaming streams at a 1080p resolution up to 60fps.

Does cloud gaming have a future? ›

Even if you don't have access to a larger screen, you can still play on a smartphone. Due to the amazing features, they offer, cloud gaming services are the future of contemporary gaming.

Is Stadia shutting down? ›

Google said in September it was shutting Stadia because it "hadn't gained the traction with users" the company had hoped. But fans have reacted with sadness, with many pointing out some games developed exclusively to be played on Stadia could be lost forever once the service closes.

Which is better Xcloud or GeForce Now? ›

When it comes to the best all-around experience, GeForce Now is our strongest recommendation. While you do have to purchase many of the games that you can play on this service, the fact is that GeForce Now brings some of the best visual quality, a massive game compatibility list, and a free membership plan option.

What platform is best for gaming? ›

According to Statista, the PC remains the frontrunner concerning developer support. 66% of the roughly 4,000 developers surveyed are currently working on a game released on PCs. Moreover, 60% of the respondents think PCs one of the most exciting gaming platforms.

Does PlayStation have cloud gaming? ›

Cloud streaming

With a PlayStation Plus Premium membership, you can choose to stream a wide selection of titles from the Classics Catalog and many PS4 games from the Game Catalog direct to your PS4 or PS5 console or PC without the waiting time or HDD space needed to download games.

Can I play offline games on cloud gaming? ›

Yes you can play games locally without an internet connection but the pool of games you will have access to will be limited to android mobile games or emulators.

Do you need a good PC for cloud gaming? ›

Using any PC you have at home you could stream a game just like you would a TV show on Netflix and play it immediately. That means a powerful PC is no longer needed to do the heavy lifting. Using Shadow, you can instantly transform just about any laptop, Mac, smartphone or tablet into a powerful gaming device.

How many people use xCloud? ›

Over 10M People Have Streamed Games Through Xbox's Cloud Gaming. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at least ten million people have streamed video games through Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Can you use xCloud away from home? ›

Any game should work via this streaming method, and you're not limited to the four games that Microsoft has made available initially during the Project xCloud preview. As this takes control of your home Xbox, you can remotely start it away from home.

How do I quit xCloud? ›

How to close an app or game on Xbox.
  1. Start by pressing the Xbox button  to open the guide.
  2. Verify that the game or app you wish to close is highlighted from the mini-guide on the left side of the screen, and then press the Menu button  on your controller.
  3. Select Quit.

What is the minimum internet speed for cloud gaming? ›

Internet Requirements

GeForce NOW requires at least 15Mbps for 720p at 60 FPS, 25Mbps for 1080p at 60 FPS, and 35 Mbps for 1600p at 120 FPS. We also require less than 80ms latency from an NVIDIA data center. However, for the best experience, we recommend less than 40ms.

How much data does a gamer use a month? ›

As such, you can still expect to use between 40MB and 300MB per hour for most games. This means you could expect 10GB to last between 250 and 33 hours, depending on the title you're playing.

Can you play game pass on 5G? ›

Verizon Now Sells Xbox All Access, Highlights Game Pass on Its 5G Network.

Is cloud gaming good? ›

Cloud gaming is as good as the Wi-Fi connection. Playing Fortnite via Xbox Cloud Gaming runs and looks very good. Gaming performance is significantly better while streaming from the cloud, but you'll need a fairly strong and reliable 5GHz Wi-Fi connection.

Do I need Xbox Live if I already have Game Pass? ›

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes all benefits of Xbox Live Gold, which gives you access to multiplayer games on your console. (Free-to-play games include online multiplayer without an Xbox Live Gold subscription.)

Can you play Xbox on your phone? ›

Play remotely from your Xbox console. Play games installed on your Xbox console, including Xbox Game Pass titles, on any compatible PC, Android, or iOS device.

Is 1 gig good for gaming? ›

Online Gaming Speed Recommendations:

Up to 50 Mbps: 1-2 light gamers. 50 to 250 Mbps: 3-5 multi-player gamers. 250 to 1 Gig: 5+ heavy multi-player gamers.

Is 1 gig internet fast? ›

Gigabit Internet literally means that you are downloading 1,000,000,000 bits per second or 1,000 megabits per second. That's 100 times faster than the average Internet speed in the United States.

How many Mbps is 1 gig? ›

Gigabit Internet service transmits data up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) — or 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps).

Does Xcloud do HDR? ›

High dynamic range (HDR) video is not currently supported for cloud gaming. This means that games that report HDR status in-game will show that HDR is not supported when you're playing cloud games.

Is streaming in 720p good? ›

Things To Consider When Deciding between Resolutions for Your Stream. We performed the same experiment (using H. 264) across four different kinds of videos and found that on average, for bit rates less than 7 Mbps, 720p videos had a higher perceptual quality than 1080p videos.

Is 720p good for streaming games? ›

Twitch allows users to stream games in a lot of resolutions, and channels are choosing to stream in resolutions across the spectrum.

Is cloud gaming better than console? ›

Pros of cloud gaming

Cloud gaming offers a much more convenient experience than traditional console gaming in multiple ways. First, cloud-based gaming – at least with major players like Google Stadia, Project xCloud, and Shadow – can be played on multiple devices without losing progress.

Is cloud gaming free? ›

As its full 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, is £10.99 / $14.99 per month.

Has Xbox Cloud Gaming improved? ›

You can expect a higher resolution and smoother streaming experience. These changes also complete a long journey of upgrading our browser gaming experience to a different streaming technology. You should now have a more consistent experience in the browser, no matter what device you use.

Is Xbox cloud offline? ›

Can I use my cloud saves offline? To access cloud-saved games, you must be connected to the Xbox network when you start a game. If you disconnect from the network while playing a game, you can continue playing, but if you're not connected when you leave the game, your game save won't be uploaded to the cloud.

How do I use Xbox cloud beta for gaming? ›

To play games on your Xbox console with cloud gaming:
  1. Press the Xbox button  to open the guide, and then select My games & apps > See all.
  2. Choose Full library > Xbox Game Pass.
  3. Select a game with the cloud icon on it.

How do I get Xcloud beta invite? ›

The Xbox Cloud Gaming beta is invite-only at this stage. If you're an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, you're eligible for this beta and might get an email inviting you to participate. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a clear way to sign up or increase your chances of getting picked right now.

Does Xbox cloud have lag? ›

You might experience lag or latency when using remote play or cloud gaming services due to network-related issues. If you have any additional questions or concerns, contact our support team here.

Will Xbox Cloud Gaming ever be 4K? ›

You won't be streaming games at 4K anytime soon, but what Xbox Cloud Gaming loses in image quality, it more than makes up for in connection stability, quick load times and a wide range of supported devices and controller setups.

How many users does Xcloud have? ›

More than 20 million people have streamed games using Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Tuesday during the company's first-quarter fiscal 2023 earnings call.

Is Xbox cloud Unlimited? ›

As a user's game library grows, the cloud does, too. In short, Xbox One users get unlimited cloud storage for saved files.

Can I play game pass games without internet? ›

Once completed, you can go offline at any time and launch those games whenever you want to play them, without needing to sign in online each time. Note PC Game Pass game licenses expire after 30 days when playing offline, and licenses for owned games expire after 14 days.

Does Xbox Cloud Gaming use a lot of data? ›

So exactly how much data does xCloud Xbox game streaming use? In our testing, we found it would use about 3GB per hour, no matter what title we played. For comparison, Netflix's automatic mode on mobile only uses 250MB per hour. That's twelve times more data.

Is Xbox cloud free for gaming? ›

How much is Xbox Cloud Gaming? Xbox Cloud Gaming is only available for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. This service costs $15 a month and includes Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Game Pass, Game Pass for PC, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and EA Play (console only). There is no standalone subscription for Xbox Cloud Gaming.

How can I play free games on the cloud? ›

How to play cloud gaming for free?
  1. Steam Link Anywhere. This is without a doubt the easiest solution to use and set up. ...
  2. Parsec. Unlike Steam Link Anywhere, which only works with games from its catalog, Parsec allows you to stream all games installed on your PC, regardless of their origin. ...
  3. Rainway.
Mar 28, 2022

How do I access my boyfriend beta? ›

When the game becomes available in your region, you can download Battlefield Mobile from your local Google Play Store on your Android device and pre-register for the game. Once the test is live, and if your device meets the minimum requirements, you should have access to the game.

Is Gamepass beta on iOS? ›

Join the Xbox Game Pass beta - TestFlight - Apple. Help developers test beta versions of their apps and App Clips using the TestFlight app. Download TestFlight on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.

How to get invited to Xbox cloud? ›

Everyone who's in a party will have a party icon next to their gamertag. If you select a friend from your list and then choose Join, you immediately become a part of their party. If a friend's party requires an invite, you can send a message and ask to be invited.


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