Microsoft is bringing its xCloud game streaming to Game Pass on Android next month, but keen subscribers can get the jump early and start playing from today.
The cloud gaming feature is rolling out to the official Xbox Game Pass (Beta) app for Android today, meaning that any Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can test out a limited version of the upcoming feature, which allows you to play a variety of technically demanding Xbox and PC games on your phone, streamed from Microsoft’s servers.
Anyone can download the beta version of the Game Pass app, but you will need to be a subscriber to the £10.99/$14.99 monthly Game Pass Ultimate service to try out the cloud gaming – just as you will be when it launches in full on 15 September.
The beta app doesn’t include the full service either. While more than 100 games will be available from launch, only 30 or so are available to play during the beta period.
“We’re entering a limited beta period to ensure a smooth transition of the cloud gaming experience to the Xbox Game Pass app on Android,” Microsoft told The Verge.
“Existing Xbox Game Pass (Beta) app users will get the opportunity to test a subset of the available titles as we ready the experience for broader availability next month. This limited beta is critical to providing the best possible experience for members at launch and should not be considered indicative of the final experience or library.”
This beta is separate from the existing Project xCloud Preview, which has been running for some months. That was free to join, but with limited numbers, and has now stopped admitting new players. Microsoft has said it will continue to run the original preview until 11 September, a few days before the full launch.
The new beta, and the full service, are Android-exclusive for now. Microsoft has blamed Apple’s App Store policies for the fact that the xCloud game streaming won’t work on iPhones and iPads, as Apple restricts apps that give iOS users access to other storefronts and software – the concept at the heart of cloud gaming.
To join the xCloud beta, simply download the Xbox Game Pass (Beta) app from the Play Store and subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate if you haven’t already.