Microsoft starts their closed beta test for some subscribers of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service today. As part of this test, the gamers will be able to stream games onto their PC or iOS devices and play games without installing them locally and without needing a powerful CPU and GPU locally, yet, they will still need a good Internet connection if they want an acceptable gaming experience.
I envisioned the gaming industry moving more into the cloud and letting players stream their games rather than using a local machine’s power to deliver the performance. Things are not moving quickly here, but they are slowly shaping into proper solutions.
Closed-beta starts now
Earlier today, I received an email with an invitation to participate in the Microsoft Xbox Cloud Gaming beta test on the platforms PC and iOS. After being an active user of the Xbox game-streaming solutions for Android, it was only a matter of time when this would move on to other platforms as well. As a matter of fact, it was curious that they started with Android and not with Windows first.
The current selection of available games in my dashboard is a total of 247 titles for me right now. It might not be exactly the same for all regions, but there is a useful list as to what titles are currently included, managed by Matthew Reynolds, in an article on Eurogamer. Not all of these are AAA titles, but as it’s normal for the Game Pass, you also get some games directly on launch day as part of the subscription. This was, for instance, also the case for the popular looter-shooter Outriders, which was released earlier this month, and was directly available for subscribers, without needing to buy the game first.
What do you need to do?
The only thing you need to do is click on a game and wait a bit until the game is loaded up. Gamers will not be required to install the game, will not need to install an app on Windows, and this will therefore not require admin-rights to do. One thing to notice for now, however, is that you’ll need to connect a gamepad if you want to play. I found no information from Microsoft on how to play using a keyboard and mouse combination, and it also didn’t work for me. So, this is something you should keep in mind. Bring a compatible controller to your cloud-gaming session. Similar to the updated features that were introduced on Android, it’s possible that touch-input for iOS devices might follow soon. Still, there is no official information that would back this assumption up as of now.
If you are one of the chosen ones, you’ll be able to log in to their project site and continue to pick a game. If not, you’ll only be able to check some info on how the final service is likely to work later. To run the service, you’ll need to use a Windows 10 PC or Apple mobile device with iOS 14+. Compatible browsers are Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge version 87 or greater, and Microsoft recommends a 10Mbps line with a 5Ghz Wi-Fi connection or better. In the future, new services like 5G will also help to provide you with an Internet speed that lets you play in good quality and with minimal lag, even when you’re not at home.
YouTube: Trailer for Android, for reference only