Microsoft is now testing xCloud gaming for the web

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8BitDo is making a mini Xbox controller for xCloud.
Image: 8BitDo

The popularity of cloud gaming has grown immensely in the past few years thanks to platforms like Google Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud. According to a report from The Verge, Microsoft is beginning to test its cloud service for web browsers. This will give gamers a new way to access many of their favorite Xbox titles without needing a console.

The move won’t just let players access games on their PC web browsers, however. It will also make xCloud available on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. Until now, the platform hasn’t been supported due to Apple’s restrictive App Store rules.

The current xCloud test is reportedly the last step before a public preview. It’s unclear when that will go live or when players will be able to access xCloud through a browser.

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xCloud’s Imminent iOS Arrival

Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate subscription is attractive simply for the fact that it has such a large library of games. The addition of xCloud for playing on the go makes it an even sweeter deal.

Currently, xCloud is available for Android smartphones and tablets. As noted, Apple’s App Store policies make it impossible for Microsoft to roll out its cloud gaming platform to iOS devices—at least in the traditional way. Instead of going through the App Store, the company is now planning to give players access through their mobile browser.

At this point, details about how the web-based platform works remain unknown. However, according to The Verge, it is very similar to the Android version. Microsoft’s browser edition features a simple game launcher that comes with recommendations. It also allows gamers to resume titles they’ve recently played—much like an Xbox console does.

Although not every game in the Game Pass Ultimate library is available for xCloud, there are more than 100 titles to choose from.

Players will need to get their hands on an Xbox controller or a compatible accessory. Those who intend to play on their phone could opt for a mini controller, like the one released by 8BitDo. The Razer Kishi is another fantastic choice that essentially converts your phone into a fully-functioning controller.

It’s worth noting that a few games have support for touch controls, including the popular “Minecraft Dungeons.” As time goes on, it’s likely that more games will follow suit. However, most xCloud titles do require a traditional controller.

Spring Release

Previously, Microsoft said that it planned to make xCloud available on both iOS and PC at some point this spring. Since it is now internally testing the browser-based version of the service, it’s likely that this timeline is still relevant.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months as Microsoft prepares to roll out xCloud to new users. When it is able to get its web-based platform working, it will be a welcome addition to the Xbox family. More importantly, it will help Microsoft continue to advance its cloud gaming aspirations with a new audience.

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