A customer plays on an Xbox xCloud device at the Microsoft store opening on July 11, 2019 in London, England.
Peter Summers | Getty Images
Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming service, previously known as xCloud, will begin rolling out in beta to iPhones, iPads and PCs this week. The service will be invite-only to start, Microsoft said in a blog post Monday.
Xbox Cloud Gaming was on track to launch for iPhones and iPads earlier, but Apple updated its App Store rules in September that impacted services like Xbox Gaming and Google Stadia. Apple’s move forced the companies to use web browsers to redesign their services so that they could circumvent the App Store rules. Under the rules, Microsoft, Google and other companies with similar services would have had to offer each game as an individual download instead of offering a complete library the way Netflix does for movies.
Xbox Cloud Gaming is sort of like Netflix for games. People who subscribe to Microsoft’s $14.99 per month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate plan can access more than 100 titles. The cloud gaming aspect lets you stream the games without having to download them, provided you have a fast enough internet connection. The streaming option is already available for Android phones.
Microsoft said it will begin to roll out the service in 22 countries and will continue to invite new users to try it. Players just need a Bluetooth or USB controller for most games, though touch controls are available for some of them.