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Microsoft brings cloud gaming to iOS & Windows 10 PCs

Michael Tracey, Reporter

The dream of having the freedom to play a video game without a console or an expensive PC is now a reality for more Xbox gamers, thanks to Microsoft. Last week, the American technology company announced the cloud streaming service Xbox Cloud Gaming is available on Apple iOS mobile devices and Windows 10 PCs across 22 countries.

Cloud gaming allows players to enjoy a game in any desired location as long as there’s an internet connection. The concept of cloud gaming is similar to streaming services such as Netflix, or Hulu, except it enables users to play video games instead of watching television shows and movies. Another exciting aspect about the service is that Xbox Cloud Gaming plays through the established Xbox network so no one loses any game saves and can pick up right where they left off. 

The purpose of Xbox Cloud Gaming is to empower seamless functionality across designated devices while streaming video games from Xbox hardware in Microsoft data centers worldwide. Microsoft also recently upgraded the data centers with custom Xbox Series X hardware to stream games at 1080p resolution and up to 60 fps, ensuring low latency.

Gamers can enjoy a healthy list of over 100 console games on Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming service, but there’s one catch. Instead of Xbox Cloud Gaming being a separate entity, it comes as an add-on service for anyone with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate combines the Xbox online service with a library of over 100 games to instantly download and play for a $14.99 monthly cost. 

It’s worth noting that Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming is currently in a beta phase and is only accessible on a web browser. But for an optimized experience on Apple devices, users can add Xbox Cloud Gaming to their home screen, creating an app with a direct link to the website. Additionally, Windows 10 PC owners can visit the Xbox Cloud Gaming website on the following search engines: Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Safari. 

There’s no need to worry about misplacing a controller when traveling because more than 50 games from the cloud have a custom touch control option on the screen as a substitution. If the game of choice isn’t on that list, there are supported controllers and mobile gaming accessories to use. Here are a few examples and links of what’s available on the select market to purchase.

 

Backbone One

The Backbone One is a mobile controller compatible with all iPhone models iOS 13 or later. The portable controller has a capture button to record gameplay, similar to using the new Xbox wireless controller on the console. In addition, the design of the Backbone One utilizes the technology within the iPhone, requiring no charging while gaming. The Backbone One is priced at $99.99 and available to purchase at the Microsoft Store

 

Razer Kishi

The Razer Kishi is a universal gaming controller for Android and iOS devices that’s designed to resemble the traditional Xbox controller. It has an integrated Xbox button, a low-latency USB-C connection, a directional pad, and clickable analog thumbsticks. The Razer Kishi costs $99.99 and is available at the Microsoft Store and other select retailers

 

8BitDo

8BitDo developed a retro-style gaming controller called the SN30 Pro for Android devices. The designated mobile device fits nicely above the controller with adjustable positioning and an expandable clip for larger smartphones. The SN30 Pro has Bluetooth capability and hopefully will release an iOS edition after Microsoft’s announcement. The controller features 8BitDo’s Precision Software that gives customization for adjusting trigger and stick sensitivity and options for button mapping. The SN30 Pro is available to purchase on Amazon for $44.99.

Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming requires no game installations, so bogging down your data storage won’t happen. Keep in mind that cloud technology is only possible with an internet connection, and the faster the speed, the better the reliability. The service will also use cellular data when gaming mobile, which could be problematic for those without an unlimited data plan. If that’s the case, it’s more desirable to use cloud gaming while on Wi-Fi. Microsoft recommends a high-speed internet plan minimum of 10 Mbps with a 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection. 

It appears cloud gaming is finally entering the spotlight within the industry since its infancy in 2009 when Steve Perlman founded OnLive. Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming isn’t the only service available; other noteworthy technology companies have developed their versions of cloud gaming: Google Stadia, Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Amazon’s Luna. With that said, the race to become king of cloud gaming is yet to be determined. However, Microsoft is gaining recognition and is beginning to take the lead after the recent announcement. 

Remarkably, cloud technology provides the ability to play video games with family and friends on the go. Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming is a significant step towards the future and a fascinating concept that can change the way people play video games forever.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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Microsoft brings cloud gaming to iOS & Windows 10 PCs