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Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft offers its own cloud gaming platform called Xbox Cloud Gaming, which allows users to play hundreds of games on various devices without downloading them.
  • Xbox Cloud Gaming is free for those with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which also includes access to over 400 games for Xbox consoles and Windows PCs.

Microsoft has its own cloud gaming platform.

Called Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - often referred to as Xbox Cloud Gaming - it offers more than 300 Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games to be played on PC, Mac, Chromebook, Samsung Smart TVs, Android and iOS devices over a data connection. Xbox Game Pass members can also use it to play many games on their consoles without having to download them.

Microsoft even hopes to introduce its own streaming stick - codenamed "Keystone" - in the future.

So, here's everything you need to know about the Xbox cloud games service, including what devices are compatible and the available games.

What is Xbox Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?

Called "Project xCloud" during its earlier days, Xbox Cloud Gaming is Microsoft's game streaming platform. It runs as a complementary service to its Xbox One and Xbox Series X / Series S games consoles and is available in 28 countries as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.

It is a streaming service, in that all games are hosted on custom Xbox Series X hardware located at remote servers around the world. Live gameplay video is sent to a compatible device over the internet. In return, controller codes are sent in the other direction so, for all intents and purposes, it feels like you are playing a game loaded on the device itself.

It is not a new idea; there are others on the market, such as Nvidia's GeForce Now (which now has access to Game Pass games as well). However, Microsoft's service is not currently a separate offering - it is a no-cost addition to its existing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership scheme.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (3 months)

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives you access to Cloud Gaming, plus 100s of Xbox and PC games as part of the same subscription fee. You also get EA Play, giving you a selection of games from Electronic Arts, online play and much more.

Microsoft believes Cloud Gaming is one of the best game streaming services around because it utilises the firm's enormous network of data centres around the world. This ensures game requests can be served locally rather than across continents, potentially reducing latency by shortening the distance between the end user and the data centre.

Latency is the enemy of cloud gaming, often adding many milliseconds between button presses and actions performed on screen. And, while that doesn't sound like much, milliseconds are vital when it comes to gaming. Say you press the button to shoot an onrushing enemy, a few milliseconds of latency can be the difference between hitting them and not. Or, in a driving game such as the excellent Forza Horizon 5, the difference between successfully drifting around a corner or ending up wrapped around a tree.

Does that mean my Xbox console will be defunct in future?

Xbox Cloud Gaming is not designed to replace games consoles. Instead, it runs parallel to the company's machines, offering many of the same games and even allowing for save games to be picked up and continued no matter which device you use: mobile, console, PC or even Smart TV.

As it is available as part of the company's Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership scheme, which also includes over 400 games to download to the Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, 200 games for PC, Xbox Live Gold and EA Play, it is seen very much as an extension to console gaming, not a replacement.

Essentially, Cloud Gaming is an ideal way for you to carry on your Xbox experience on a portable device, whether you are at home or out and about.

What Is Xbox Project Xcloud Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming Platform Explained image 1

When and where can I use Xbox Cloud Gaming?

Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is available in beta form in 28 countries as a dedicated app for Android devices. Windows PC users can play Cloud Gaming titles through the native Xbox app, and it is also available via a web browser on iOS, Mac and Chromebook. Safari, Chrome and Microsoft's own Edge browser are all supported.

Xbox has also more recently expanded its reach to the latest Samsung TVs - those capable of hosting the Samsung Gaming Hub.

For Android, you need to download the Xbox Game Pass app from Google Play or the Samsung Galaxy Store. You can play cloud games through the app, plus wishlist and even download games to your Xbox console or Windows PC.

If you want to play through iPhone or iPad, you need to head to on your device's Safari web browser. You can then create a web app for your home screen that jumps straight into the service on a single tap. Here are our in-depth instructions on how to get that working: How to play Xbox Cloud Gaming on iPhone and iPad.

Supported iPhones and iPads are below. Others might work (as long as they run on iOS 14.4 or above), but these are the iOS and iPadOS devices currently verified by Microsoft.

You can also play directly in a web browser on Mac and Chromebook, although owners of the latter can also install the dedicated Android app on their laptop directly.

To play on a Windows PC, just open the Xbox app and follow the instructions.

Xbox also offers Cloud Gaming accessibility on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. This allows Xbox One owners to play Xbox Series X versions of games (albeit with restrictions, such as resolution). Xbox Series X/S owners can also play supported games without having to install them first, which saves on storage space.

Among the countries covered are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US. You can see a full list of countries with Cloud Gaming support here.

Many games on Cloud Gaming now feature touch controls. For most though, you will also need a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One Wireless Controller to play the titles effectively. Xbox also recommends you acquire a phone mount for the controller, unless you are playing using a tablet.

A mount is reasonably inexpensive, however.

Xbox controller in clip
PowerA MOGA Mobile Clip 2.0

The PowerA MOGA Mobile Clip 2.0 will work with any Bluetooth-enabled Xbox Wireless Controller, such as those that come with the Xbox Series X/S. Its adjustable phone holder is great for devices up to 3.12-inches in width.

How much does Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cost?

As its full name suggests, Cloud Gaming is free to all those with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. The all-you-can-eat digital download service for Xbox One, Series X/S and Windows, is £10.99 / $14.99 per month.

What is Xbox Remote Play?

As well as Cloud Gaming, Xbox Remote Play is available. Using the same technology, gamers can use their own Xbox One or Series X/S consoles as a Cloud Gaming server and therefore stream their own games to a portable device.

PlayStation offers something similar in the form of PS4 and PS5 Remote Play, but Xbox Remote Play is different as you aren't restricted to having to be on the same home network, you can also stream over a mobile data connection.

You can find out more about it here.

Xbox Cloud Gaming games list

Here is the current list of all the available games on Cloud Gaming (as of 21 April 2023):