This month, Microsoft announced that its Xbox cloud gaming service would be entering beta for the iPhone, iPad and Windows 10 PCs. The platform is live now and, while we here at Trusted Reviews haven’t gotten a chance to try it out for ourselves just yet, I’m excited to see what this move will mean for Xbox gamers with Apple phones.
The company began inviting select Game Pass Ultimate members to test out the feature on Apple phones and tablets via their browsers on April 20.
Those lucky individuals can head over to xbox.com/play on their browser of choice (Edge, Chrome or Safari) to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles right now.
This is where the iPhone cloud gaming service differs from that on Android. Android users can download the Game Pass app to play more than 150 titles from their phone, whereas those of us gaming from our iPhones will need to stream through our phone browsers.
Of course, this isn’t an entirely new experience for anyone familiar with cloud gaming. Google’s Stadia platform runs through the company’s own Chrome browser or the Safari browser on the iPhone and iPad.
Like Game Pass members, Stadia subscribers also have the option to play via an app on Android devices. While there is a Stadia app available for Apple devices, it can only be used to manage your account on other devices and not to play games on your smartphone.
Looking at the two services, it may seem like Apple users have been left in the dust here.
Microsoft says that “offering cloud gaming through the browser and having a simplified, universal landing page presents a great opportunity to make cloud gaming approachable to more players in more places over time”, but navigating a browser very rarely matches the convenience of an app on your phone’s home screen.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that this is only a beta.
“Our plan is to iterate quickly and open up to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in the coming months so more people have the opportunity to play Xbox in all-new ways”, said Microsoft in its announcement.
The idea behind the cloud gaming service is to bring the Xbox platform and games to more players on a bigger range of devices. Right now, the iPhone’s Xbox cloud gaming service is still in testing, with Microsoft focused on fine-tuning the feature and ensuring the gaming experience is consistent across platforms.
If all goes well for Microsoft, cloud gaming on Apple devices could prove an important step in drawing more users to the Xbox platform, while also making it easier for existing subscribers to game on the go.
Fast Charge is our weekly mobile-focussed column where we delve deeper into the world of smartphones, wearables and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday morning.