Skip to main content

Microsoft’s cloud gaming service coming to iOS and PC in spring 2021

Microsoft has announced plans to expand its cloud gaming service, formerly known as Project xCloud, to more devices in 2021. The service will be available on PC and iOS this spring.

The company outlined its plans in a blog post that explains how integration with new devices will work. For the iPhone and iPad, users will need to use a mobile web browser to access cloud gaming. That’s likely a workaround designed to deal with Apple’s restrictions against all-in-one services like Stadia.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will be able to access cloud gaming on Windows PC through the Xbox app. Both the iOS and PC updates are slated for a spring 2021 release.

As part of the changes, cloud gaming will expand to more markets next year. Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico are among the locations getting full cloud gaming access in 2021. Limited testing recently began in those markets.

In addition to the cloud streaming updates, the blog post lists a batch of games coming to Xbox Game Pass in 2021. It includes Psychonauts 2, Skatebird, and Halo Infinite, which is now slated for a fall 2021 release following its indefinite delay from the Xbox Series X launch day.

The announcement highlights some recent statistics for the company coming off its new console launches. Microsoft says that over 1.6 million next-gen game upgrades were delivered with its Smart Delivery feature.

The company says it has more surprises in store, teasing that it will make announcements during tomorrow’s Game Awards broadcast. Make sure to check our guide on how to tune in so you don’t miss the show.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
For Microsoft, indies aren’t Game Pass extras. They’re the future of Xbox
A list of indie games on Xbox appears in a grid.

Xbox may be about as corporate a brand as you can find, but it’s been a surprisingly vital platform for independent developers. That dates back to the Xbox Live Arcade days of old, when small developers were given a place to easily publish their projects on consoles. Rather than pulling away from those days, Xbox has only doubled down on its relationship to indies in the years since through initiatives like ID@Xbox and a Developer Acceleration Program designed to help underrepresented developers get their games out.

Over the past few months, the brand has been on a global tour to reach small developers directly and court them to Xbox. That effort would take the company to New York City on November 18, where Xbox leadership would speak to local developers and students about how to submit to their programs (the event would also feature a questionably timed speech from New York City Mayor Eric Adams amid an FBI investigation into his campaign funds). It’s clear that Microsoft is investing a lot of time and money into signing deals with small developers, but why make the effort when it could comfortably thrive just by publishing major titles through acquired publishers like Activision Blizzard and Bethesda?

Read more
Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard: What does that mean for you?
The key art from when Microsoft finally acquired Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft now owns Activision Blizzard. After Microsoft worked to appease regulators and fend off litigation, the $69 billion acquisition first announced in January 2022 is finally complete. Now that Activision Blizzard is officially part of Microsoft and a sister company to Xbox Game Studios and ZeniMax Media, that raises an important question: What does this acquisition mean for you as a player?

Following this acquisition, Microsoft will own more gaming studios, the availability of Call of Duty and other Activision Blizzard franchises will shift, and unionization efforts within Activision Blizzard could gain a bit more ground. If you're wondering what happens next, here's our thorough examination of how the deal could impact players moving forward.
Microsoft's new game studios
With this acquisition, Microsoft will now own all the developers under the Activision Blizzard company. That includes the teams at Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, and King, the latter of which is the developer behind the wildly popular mobile series Candy Crush. The acquisition encompasses the following subsidiaries as well: Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, High Moon Studios, Beenox, Toys for Bob, Activision Shanghai Studio, Solid State Studios, Demonware, Digital Legends, and Major League Gaming. Microsoft now also owns the rights to all of the games and IP Activision Blizzard previously released.

Read more
PlayStation Portal misunderstands remote play and cloud gaming’s appeal
A PlayStation Portal boots up.

Sony finally revealed more details about its upcoming handheld, now called PlayStation Portal, but these announcements have soured my opinion on the device rather than hyped me up for it. I enjoy cloud gaming and have used a variety of services like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and Xbox Cloud Gaming - across my phone and even dedicated devices like the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld. Because of that, I was really excited to see what PlayStation could do as it entered the space. Unfortunately, some specific exclusions from PlayStation Portal's functionality that make it more of a remote-play device rather than a cloud gaming handheld indicate that Sony has a fundamental misunderstanding about what people would want out of a PlayStation game streaming handheld.

Namely, the device's positioning as primarily a "remote play dedicated device" and the exclusion of PlayStation Plus Premium cloud gaming compatibility drastically shrinks the number of reasons people should pick the device up. Cloud gaming and devices built around it have been around long enough to show that an inclusive approach to the number of services, games, and kinds of game streaming available is vital to success, and for a $200 handheld, PlayStation Portal seems like it's excluding way too much.
Narrowing its appeal
Remote play differs from what's more ubiquitously referred to as cloud gaming players are running the games on their own consoles rather than a third-party console or server. Still, it's a form of streaming games over a Wi-Fi connection, typically through an app on a phone or device like the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld. That means you'll have to stick around your own home to use the PlayStation Portal, and its game library is limited to whatever the user owns on the console. That's limiting (it's like if Steam Deck only ran Steam Link) but does have some use cases. Still, it doesn't necessarily feel like it warrants a dedicated $200 device over a phone and a nice mobile controller like the Razer Kishi V2 or Backbone One - PlayStation Edition; haptic feedback and adaptive triggers only go so far.

Read more