Microsoft is bringing next-gen Xbox games to the Xbox One with xCloud

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Microsoft will let Xbox One owners play next-gen Xbox games through its xCloud service. The news was buried in a blog post recapping Microsoft’s Xbox + Bethesda showcase, with the company confirming plans to leverage Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) for Xbox One consoles. That means the 2013 hardware will be able to play Xbox Series X exclusive games from 2021 — extending the lifecycle of what would normally soon be obsolete boxes.

“For the millions of people who play on Xbox One consoles today, we are looking forward to sharing more about how we will bring many of these next-gen games, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, to your console through Xbox Cloud Gaming, just like we do with mobile devices, tablets, and browsers,” says Will Tuttle, editor in chief of Microsoft’s Xbox Wire.

Until now, Microsoft had only described xCloud on consoles as a way for players to “try [games] before you download,” but it’s clear the company sees the service as offering much more. Microsoft originally announced Microsoft Flight Simulator as an Xbox One title, before quietly removing references to the Xbox One launch in December. Microsoft recently confirmed Flight Simulator will now launch on Xbox Series X / S consoles on July 27th.

It’s not clear when xCloud game streaming will be available on Xbox One consoles, though. It’s unlikely to be ready in time for the July launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Microsoft’s head of cloud gaming, Kareem Choudhry, previously said xCloud will be integrated into consoles “later this year.”

xCloud availability will provide a welcome boost for Xbox One consoles, particularly as Microsoft is upgrading its server blades to run Xbox Series X hardware later this month. It will give this older hardware a way to play upcoming titles like Starfield, which, like Flight Simulator, will also launch exclusively on the new Xbox Series X / S consoles.


Wow, Microsoft are really going to be reliant on high-speed broadband for the next few years.

Could see them potentially coming unstuck because of this. Any inconsistency in broadband speed will impact customer’s views of their service.

I love cloud gaming in principle, but my home broadband connection isn’t stable enough to play lag-free. So far, my home is also the most reliable connection I have, which kind of negates the need for it at all.

I hope it pays off for them, but I’d be curious to know how many Game Pass subscribers treat this as more than a curiousity right now.

I mean, if you don’t have a Series S / X because you can’t get your hands on one or just can’t afford it, this is still a major benefit. Especially if you already are a Game Pass subscriber.

Yep, literally nothing to complain about here…

How are they "reliant" on it? It is simply an additional service…
And if you like the game, but your internet is too slow, they can easily upsell you on a new console

This. My 5G connection had way too much latency for xCloud to work on my phone, so I went ahead and bought a Series X so I could play my games properly. xCloud can be a gateway to software and hardware purchases.

I tested Stadia, Xcloud and geforce now and Stadia was the best for me!
smoother, better latency! it looks like magic, latency unnoticeable!
But it is best for each person to test the services and draw their own conclusions, not depending on the opinion of third parties who are usually from people who have not even tested the platforms!
Stadia has 3 games totally free to play at the time of writing and Google gives 1 to 3 months of trial of Stadia PRO.
I recommend using a 5.8 Ghz wifi connection or wired connection if you are at home , in transit I have not tested 4g or 5g, but 5g should be better !!

Your comment makes no sense.

That they will continue to offer hardware options sort of takes the teeth out of this concern. If you are in a region where high-speed internet is not consistent you can buy the console. If this is also integrated into the S it can extend that platform’s lifecycle as well. It’s a smart move for everyone.

Your post contradicts itself…

This is another example of Xbox’s current consumer friendly push… This is good stuff.

This strategy helps Microsoft differentiate themselves from Sony in a significant way. Console sales are now second to game pass subs.

And indeed, next-gen consoles are loss leaders. The Series X and PS5 very likely lose money, so Sony and Microsoft want to drive software and recurring subscription revenue above all else.

Quite. The development and manufacture of games consoles is an annoying distraction from the act of making money from the content.

I don’t think consoles are going to go anywhere any time soon, but their status as the gateway for accessing the content is already diminished.

The irony is that Sony has been doing exactly this for years — PSNow has been around since 2014 (!). I never give it a second thought, though, because I’m certainly not going to sign up for a standalone subscription that lets me play old games. The brilliance of the MS approach is that they took something I wanted anyway (Game Pass) and added a cloud feature as a useful fringe benefit.

Theres a pitch here MS aims at developers:
You can develop and target exclusively the latest gen console(s), but still benefit from the existing install base of the previous generation.

Its allowing backwards compatability without the required development effort.

Not only that, but you’re kind of implying to developers that they can only tap into these older consoles via xCloud if their game is on GamePass Ultimate. As far as I know, xCloud only covers GamePass games (correct me if I’m wrong)

From what I gathered, though i could be completely wrong, i think the plan going forward is xcloud for game pass or the games you own.
That’s currently possible with home streaming but from what i recall(very possibly incorrect, don’t ask for sources because it’s more a feeling than one particular thing said) pc games and stuff you own will come to xcloud down the line

Its not primarily aimed at the devs. Its primarily aimed at making gamepass as attractive to customers as possible.

If anyone is still using an OG Xbox One, you gotta run it through ethernet to do any of this stuff, regardless of what your speeds over wireless are. The 802.11n networking on it will be a huge bottleneck.

Really? Xcloud streams are about 12mb which is achievable on 801.11n

First, they should work on visual quality. I have access to the web streaming beta and compression artifacts are awful on a 1080p display.

GFN or Stadia on the same machine and network don’t have any artifacts.

They’re running off One S’s in the current Beta – so 720p largely. They’re swapping them out for Series X equivalent blades, and that should be changing over any time now and dramatically improve the visual quality.

I think your standards of what you consider awful differ greatly from mine. It does look slightly compressed, but doesn’t detract from my experience at all. It’s very rare that I ever specifically notice it, and I’m using a 4K monitor here.

It may be region(how far servers are, though if they released xCloud in my country, it shouldn’t be a problem)/game dependent.

In Forza Horizon 4 I can clearly see artifacts on nature elements near the roads and it is really distracting. It was less distracting in Minecraft Dungeons, but I could still notice the artifacts. My colleague from the same country, but different city also complains about subpar visual quality in comparison to GFN/Stadia.

Compared to how stadia looks, the VQ is definitely a downgrade with the Xbox cloud service so far.

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