Microsoft announced today that it has rolled out the new Xbox Cloud Gaming service for consoles as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. However, it’s currently only available to select Xbox Insiders.
The service lets you play console games through the cloud. That means that no installs are required. Instead, the games stream over the internet similar to Google Stadia and PlayStation Now.
“We’re beginning to flight cloud gaming today on your console for a random subset of Alpha Skip-Ahead and Alpha Insiders. We will be expanding to more Insiders and additional rings over time,” the company said. “Cloud gaming on your console reduces your time to the fun and allows you to quickly jump into online multiplayer sessions with your friends by letting you play Xbox Game Pass games without having to wait for an install.”
How to participate
If you’re an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, you’ll want to navigate to Xbox Game Pass on your console. Look for games with the cloud icon. There’s also a full list of supported games if you go to My Games & Apps -> Full Library -> Xbox Game Pass and tick the “Cloud gaming” option.
Following its success on Android mobile – and more recently on iOS and PC via browsers – Microsoft reiterated at its Gamescom 2021 conference that the Xbox Cloud Gaming service is critical to the firm. It will support Xbox consoles in addition to the three platforms that have previously been tested.
The company notes that there are several known issues, including an inability to launch base games that are part of a bundle. So you may not be able to play games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, at least right away. In-game purchases are not currently supported via the cloud, although they note that a workaround is buying through the Microsoft Store and then reloading the game.
Unfortunately, if you’re not an Xbox Insider, we do not currently have a firm date for when this will roll out to everyone else with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Microsoft has previously stated that it will be available starting this holiday season.