cloud shaped like an xbox controller

While the rest of the world freaks out over the size, shape, and functionality of the XBox Series X, a more pressing question remains: what the hell is xCloud and should you get it?

Let's take a look and see.

What is xCloud?

microsoft xbox xcloud

xCloud is the working title for Microsoft’s cloud gaming service that brings the XBox Game Pass library to mobile devices.

It was announced during Microsoft’s 2018 E3 press conference and had only been available to testers. As of September 15, 2020 however, it's now available fully to the public.

How does xCloud work?

microsoft xbox xcloud

xCloud is included in the XBox Game Pass Ultimate subscription service. XBox Game Pass Ultimate allows subscribers access to over 250 games for the XBox console, Windows PC, and now Android mobile devices.

Whether you're on a phone or tablet, you just need to download the XBox Game Pass app and you can start playing games through xCloud.

The app works like any other streaming app (e.g. Netflix) so you can access all available games in the same app, without needing to download separate apps for each game.

Which devices is xCloud available on?

microsoft xbox xcloud

Right now, xCloud is only available on devices that use Android operating systems. This includes phones and tablets made by Samsung, Google, Microsoft, and OnePlus.

Unfortunately, xCloud is not available on any Apple devices.

This is mostly because Apple decided to treat xCloud not like a single streaming app. Instead, Apple told Microsoft that Apple users with an xCloud subscription would have to download every game they want to play as individual apps, which would be totally inconvenient.

That doesn't mean xCloud will never be available on Apple, but unless that setup changes, it's unlikely you'll be able to use xCloud on any Apple devices.

Users need devices running Android version 6.0 or greater, along with Bluetooth version 4.0 or greater. A 5Ghz Wi-Fi connection or a mobile data connection with 10Mbps download speed is required.

Having an XBox wireless controller with bluetooth is the best option to play, but there are several third-party controllers and other phone-friendly controller configurations that work as well.

How much does xCloud cost?

microsoft xbox xcloud

Technically it's free, since it's included with any XBox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. You cannot only subscribe to xCloud, you must have an XBox Game Pass Ultimate.

New users can pay $1 for the first month, then it's $14.99 per month.

Of course, that price doesn't include what you're paying for your data plan, device, or accessories in order to actually use xCloud.

But if you're already gonna by three or four full-priced games every year for your XBox, then there's a good chance the pass will pay for itself over time.

Which games come with xCloud?

microsoft xbox xcloud

Most of the games in the XBox Game Pass library are available through xCloud on your mobile devices. With xCloud, you'll have access to 169 games in total (plus more as they come out).

Notable games include:

— Wasteland 1, 2 and 3

— Resident Evil 7

— Destiny 2 / Destiny 2: Forsaken / Destiny 2: Shadowkeep

— Batman: Arkham Knight

— Dead by Daylight

— Fallout: New Vegas / Fallout 76

— Final Fantasy 7, 9, and 15

— Gears of War series

— Halo series

— Mass Effect

— Minecraft

— Mortal Kombat 10

— Playerunknown's Battlegrounds

— Ninja Gaiden 2

— Remnant: From the Ashes

— The Elder Scrolls

— The Witcher 3

— The Outer Worlds

— Tell Me Why

As part of your XBox Game Pass Ultimate, you'll get an XBox Live Gold membership in order to access multiplayer functions. This means you can use xCloud to play Destiny 2, Batman: Arkham Knight, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and The Elder Scrolls Online.

Is xCloud worth it?

microsoft xbox xcloud

For XBox diehards, xCloud is a must have. There's no additional cost for those who already have the XBox Game Pass Ultimate, so it's an easy way to play some of your favorite games anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection.

If you're new to XBox in general, it's worth trying the Game Pass Ultimate for the $1 first month, since you'll get a taste for XBox staples and see which of them you do (or don't) like playing on mobile.

In the end, it really depends on which games you want to play while sitting in the car at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru.

If you like sawing noobs in Gears of War or defying physics in Goat Simulator while someone pours you a large iced coffee, then xCloud is well worth your money.

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