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Microsoft confirms the xCloud beta is coming to iOS and PC in spring 2021

Microsoft confirms the xCloud beta is coming to iOS and PC in spring 2021


Available for free to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers

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The Xbox X in a circle logo against a dark background with green lines.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Microsoft has confirmed its timeline for bringing its xCloud cloud gaming service to Apple’s iOS platform and to Windows PCs, with the company saying it will support iPhone, iPad, and PC starting in spring 2021. The Verge reported in October that Microsoft was looking to bring xCloud to iOS via a mobile web app some time in “early 2021,” but Microsoft has clarified the timing in a blog post published on Wednesday. The PC version of xCloud will be delivered through the Xbox app for Windows 10, the company says.

“In Spring 2021, we will take the next step in our journey to reach more players around the world by making cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate available on Windows PCs through the Xbox app and browser, and iOS devices through mobile web browser,” writes Jerret West, Microsoft’s Xbox marketing chief, in the blog post. “By adding over a billion devices as a path to playing in the Xbox ecosystem, we envision a seamless experience for all types of players.”

xCloud is coming to iOS via the web and PC via the Xbox app

xCloud will still be bundled as part of Microsoft’s $15 a month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Microsoft says it plans to launch its cloud gaming beta through Game Pass to more markets next year, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Due to limitations Apple has imposed on iOS apps and cloud services, Microsoft wasn’t able to support the iPhone and iPad when it launched xCloud in beta for Android in September. The two companies got into a public spat over whether xCloud in its current form could ever exist on the iPhone, after Apple said such a service would need to submit individual games for review.

Although Apple offered Microsoft a compromise of sorts by allowing cloud gaming apps to run their cloud clients on iOS so long as they still submitted individual titles for review, the Xbox maker said such a solution would be a “bad experience for consumers” and decided to focus on a mobile web offering instead.

Other cloud gaming providers have decided to do the same, and both Google and Nvidia announced mobile web versions of their respective services last moth. Nvidia’s is available now, with its GeForce Now cloud service running on iOS in beta. Google plans to launch an iOS version of its Stadia service via the mobile web before the end of the year.