- Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming is now available through the native Windows Xbox application.
- Players must be registered as Xbox members.
- They must also subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Microsoft has introduced the first local PC support for Xbox cloud gaming through the updated Windows Xbox application. PC gamers were previously forced to connect through the Xbox website.
The update is currently limited to Xbox Insider program members in 22 supported countries, including the U.S. and Canada. Xbox official blogInsider members must specifically register for Windows game previews in the Xbox Insider Hub application, and then cloud games should be displayed in the Game Pass tab of the Xbox application. As before, cloud support is only available to those who subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate. In the United States, after the introduction period of $1, the monthly fee is $14.99.
Gamers must further connect to compatible Xbox controllers, but some of the advantages of native apps include quick access to social functions and connection status. It can also be used to stream games from the Xbox console on the local network.
Because of its pricing model and library, Microsoft is generally considered to be at the forefront of cloud gaming. Ultimate subscribers can play any content in the game pass library for free, including classic games like Alien: Isolation and the latest games like The Ascent. This is compared with Google Stadia, which does provide free access to certain games, but even a $9.99 Pro subscription usually requires people to pay extra for certain games, which cannot be offline or without a subscription. Anything on Game Pass can be purchased and saved separately, but Xbox Cloud Gaming is currently limited to console games and does not include content in the PC game pass library.