The idea behind Microsoft’s Xbox cloud gaming service is that you can stream games from the internet, allowing you to play Xbox titles without, you know, an Xbox game console.

Up until recently that’s meant you could stream games to an Android phone or tablet. But in April Microsoft began rolling out a web app that could be used to stream games to PCs, iPhones, and iPads. Microsoft says the web interface will be available for all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers via the Edge, Chrome, or Safari web browsers in the coming weeks.

So what’s next? TVs.

Microsoft says it’s partnering with TV makers to “embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-controlled televisions,” which means that soon you may be able to pair a Bluetooth controller with your smart TV to play console-quality video games without paying for a console.

Don’t have a compatible smart TV? No problem. Microsoft is also “building its own streaming devices” that you’ll be able to connect to any TV the same way you can currently connect a Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, or Apple TV device.

Note that you will need still need two things to take advantage of Xbox cloud gaming, even if you have the compatible hardware. First, you’ll need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which runs $15 per month and includes access to 100+ games. At the moment you can get a 3-month subscription for just $1 though.

Second, you’ll need a decent internet connection. Microsoft recommends 5 GHz WiFi connections with at least 10 Mbps download speeds, although you’ll probably get better results with a faster connection.

Latency is also sometimes an issue with cloud gaming platforms, so ping times may play a factor in performance.

Microsoft has also announced that later this year it will expand Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (with cloud gaming) to more countries including Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

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  1. I’m looking forward to the day Sony does this as well, where PlayStation becomes more of a software based platform, and their games are available almost everywhere. Because I don’t want to buy their consoles anymore; I just want to play the 10 or so big AAA exclusives they release every console generation.

  2. I’ll be the first to say that Microsoft does a lot wrong and I often thrash them for it, but this is the greatest move they’ve done all year. But anyone else notice where the hell is Firefox (excluded by default ala Chromium)?

    I’ve been testing Game Pass Ultimate for a while ($1 why not) using a Samsung Note20 Ultra (Android) with a BT One controller and a PS4 Dualshock, along with some BT earphones; seems like its getting gradually better. My straining eyes are not but its still pretty awesome to play a little during the work day on a lunch break.

    FYI: 10mps down min required is laughable! I have 70-100mps down and games like Fallout76 still stutter into oblivion if there’s moderate action going on (like running/turning/animations like water) on 5ghz. Batman: Arkham Knight challenge maps also get jittery and linear screen refresh “wipes” occur. But its getting close.

    As an unyielding Linux user, I also tested earlier versions of the Game Pass app .apk using Anbox (does load, plays game music, some games load) but without an ability to connect to a controller (even if a wired one is used) its sorta of a dead experiment.

    Awesome to hear MS are planning for browser only modes which is going to be Stadia’s last laugh IMO. I might consider a dedicated streaming device for the non-smart televisions (don’t buy “smart tvs.”). I hope Xbox gets this finalized before any garbage Netflix gaming nonsense is announced.

    Wish there was an easier way to pipe Xbox app audio > HDMI-C cable via Dex > Pulse Audio > Analog speakers. Xbox Game Pass though the browser = instant fix.

    1. Thats absolutely true, but I guess it depends on the economics of the server hardware that Microsoft needs to run this service.

      Normally I’m sure Microsoft probably only thinks about these things in terms of money, but during a chip shortage they probably need to think about “how many users can we capture in our ecosystem, given the ceiling of hardware available at the pace that we need it”.

      Plus, I’m certain it’s far more efficient for them to run gamers on cloud-based Xbox anyways. 1 Xbox unit only serves a maximum of 1 user. The excess CPU power is wasted. 1 Xbox cloud server will likely serve as many possible users as the CPU power can serve.

      It makes me wish we were closer to the stage where we could have this kind of computing power accessible through a zero-latency “quantum entanglement” communication. It would be nice to simply “lease” the amount of CPU/GPU power we need, and those server farms could be connected to the most environmentally sustainable power source imaginable.

  3. It’d be nice if MS provides a streaming only Game Pass for those who only want to stream games from the Internet.