Xbox Cloud Gaming on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will also be available on browsers, including Apple’s Safari, over the next few weeks.
Get ready to watch the Xbox cloud gaming service on Smart TVs and Streaming Sticks.
On Thursday, Microsoft announced an ambitious plan to expand Xbox via game streaming, bypassing the need for consumers to purchase a hardware console. “Xbox is working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into Internet-connected TVs, requiring no additional hardware except for a controller,” the company said.
As for existing TVs, Microsoft said: “Xbox is making its streaming devices for cloud gaming accessible to gamers on any TV or monitor without the need for a console.”
The company’s cloud gaming service is currently bundled in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which charges $14.99 per month. Cloud gaming removes the need to play Xbox games on the console. Instead, you stream them on an Android phone, provided you have a fast enough internet connection.
To address PC users, the company is beta testing Xbox Cloud Gaming on Windows 10 PCs and iOS devices through browsers including Edge, Chrome and Apple’s Safari. On Thursday, Microsoft said that the browser-based Xbox Cloud Gaming option will officially become available to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members “in the next few weeks.”
For Windows 10 users, Microsoft is also adding the Xbox Cloud Gaming option directly to the Xbox Game Pass app for PC. Expected to arrive at the end of this year.
The push for cloud gaming could shake up Microsoft’s business model for Xbox. For years now, the company has been selling millions of Xbox consoles, albeit at a financial loss, to reach gamers. Now, Microsoft sees an opportunity to reach even more gamers, but this time through the cloud.
“We believe Microsoft can play a leading role in democratizing gaming and defining the future of interactive entertainment,” said CEO Satya Nadella. “There are really three key areas where we believe we have an incredible competitive advantage: first, our leadership in cloud computing. Second, the resources we have to build our subscription service, Xbox Game Pass. And third, on empowerment. Our overall focus is (game) makers.”
To improve streaming times, the company is updating the hardware in Microsoft data centers that powers the cloud gaming experience. “This means gamers will experience faster load times, better frame rates, and Xbox Series X|S optimized games,” the company said.
If you thought Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a bit pricey, the company is looking at lowering the cost. “Xbox is exploring new subscription offers for Xbox Game Pass so that more players around the world can experience the most immersive and fun games across devices, geographic and financial realities,” Microsoft said.