Game on! Microsoft starts Xbox Cloud for iPhone and iPad public testing

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Xbox Cloud Gaming for iPad and iPhone
iPad and iPhone users will soon begin testing Xbox Cloud Gaming, allowing them to play 100+ console-quality games.
Photo: Microsoft

Lucky beta testers will get first access to Xbox Cloud Gaming this week. This allows subscribers to play 100+ console-quality games on an iPad or iPhone.

Apple put restrictive rules on cloud-gaming services wanting to appear in the App Store. Microsoft’s solution was to create a web app for its service.

Xbox Cloud Gaming coming to iPad and iPhone

Microsoft is starting small. It announced on Monday, “Starting tomorrow, we’ll begin sending out invites to select Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to start testing the Xbox Cloud Gaming limited beta for Windows 10 PCs and Apple phones and tablets via web browsers.”

The initial beta includes more than 50 games. And more are coming. Microsoft did not give a list of games included tin the beta, however.

An internet connection at 10 Mbps or higher is required for iPhone, and 20 Mbps or higher for iPad. And, of course, a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

On Apple devices, the Xbox Cloud Gaming web app supports only the Safari web browser. Players on an iPad or iPad can use a compatible Bluetooth controller — iOS and iPadOS both support a range of wireless Xbox controllers. (Playstation controllers should work as well.) There are also on-screen controls.

“In the early stages of the beta, we’ll be focusing on fine-tuning features and creating a consistent experience across platforms, while making sure games are running their best,” said Microsoft.

Those who don’t get picked for the first round of limited beta testing just need to be patient. “We’ll send out more invites on a continuous basis to players in all 22 supported countries,” said Microsoft. And the company has a big goal. “This is an exciting step on our journey to bring gaming to the 3 billion players around the world.”

Web apps are popular for cloud gaming

With Xbox Cloud Gaming, the games don’t run on the users local computer. Microsoft’s service lets servers handle that job, and it them streams the action to players.

Subscribers have access to a range of titles. And that’s where Microsoft and Apple ran into problems — Apple wanted each Xbox game available through this streaming service listed separately in the App Store. Microsoft wanted to create a single  app that gave access to every game.

Hence the web app. Users of Xbox Cloud Gaming will play through the Safari web browser. Other companies had to go the same route. The rival Google Stadia cloud-gaming service runs through a web app, as does Amazon Luna.