microsoft xcloud

Credit: Microsoft
  • The upcoming Microsoft xCloud game streaming service will officially debut as an Android exclusive for mobile devices.
  • Microsoft did do limited testing of xCloud on iOS devices, but that testing has now ended.
  • Apple indicated that the company’s game review policies would keep xCloud off its iPhone and iPad products.

Microsoft announced a few days ago that its long-awaited Project xCloud game streaming service would officially launch on September 15. However, when that happens, it will be leaving out the many iPhone and iPad owners out there. That means Android smartphone and tablet owners will be the only gamers to access xCloud, at least for now.

When it launches, Project xCloud will be included as part of the $14.99-per-month price for Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Subscribers will be able to stream and play over 100 games from the Xbox One and Windows 10 game library on their Android devices (support for Windows 10 PCs will be added at some point in the future).

iPhone and iPad users, though, will be left out of the launch.

Why is Microsoft leaving out Apple?

Microsoft did have plans to support Apple’s iPhone and iPad products for xCloud. Indeed, the company signed up 10,000 iOS testers in February 2020. However,  the company only provided one game for those users to test: Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Now, it appears that testing will end without an official iOS launch.

Microsoft did not offer a specific reason for this decision. In a statement to The Verge, it indicated that while Microsoft wants to offer cloud-based gaming on all devices, it “has nothing further to share at this time regarding iOS.”

For Apple’s part, a statement to Business Insider indicated that while game services can be released for iOS devices, they also must follow Apple’s app guidelines. This would include “submitting games individually for review, and appearing in charts and search.” That basically means that since xCloud offers over 100 Xbox One and Windows games that are not being submitted to Apple for review, that keeps the xCloud app off the iPhone and iPad, at least for now.

xCloud = Android Exclusive (for now)

halo infinite

Credit: Microsoft

All that means that when xCloud launches as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service in just over a month, Android gamers will get the benefit of playing over 100 games that they might not normally be able to play on their smartphones or tablets. That includes new titles from Microsoft’s own Xbox Game Studios. In other words, when Halo: Infinite launches later this year for the Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows 10, it should also be available to play on day one with Android devices via xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Will you be paying $15 a month for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to stream games, via xCloud, on your Android phone or tablet?