So far, Microsoft’s xCloud streaming service has been exclusive to Android phones and tablets. But thanks to a new report by The Verge, it seems you’ll soon be able to stream Xbox games via a new web browser edition of the service.
Sources familiar with Microsoft’s streaming plans told the outlet that the company is currently testing xCloud’s web version ahead of a planned public preview. From screenshots, xCloud’s browser client appears very similar to Stadia’s, with a similar storefront and fullscreen functionality on play. Also mentioned is an ability to resume recently-played titles, though you’ll need a gamepad plugged in to play games via the service.
Last December, Microsoft announced plans to bring an xCloud beta to browsers and the Windows 10 Xbox App by Spring 2021 as part of a Game Pass Ultimate subscription. One of the screenshots plays into this relationship—on top of showing new arrivals to the service, it’ll also list games preparing to leave Game Pass, letting you catch any stragglers before they go.
Of course, a browser edition may also help xCloud circumvent the App Store’s refusal to allow streaming services on its storefront. Apple has previously blocked streaming services like xCloud, Stadia, and Steam Link, claiming its policy is in place to “protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers”.
Apple did end up reneging, so far as letting these apps exist so long as every game on their service also has an App Store presence. Calling this move “a bad experience for customers,” Microsoft has since decided to sidestep the storefront entirely by letting iOS users just hit up a website.
xCloud will be available through the Xbox App or Chromium browsers when it enters beta later this year.
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