The Microsoft cloud gaming service Project xCloud will become a free edition to Xbox Game Pass come September this year with two important caveats.
Firstly this will only be for the Ultimate version of the membership. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives access to the service for both console and PC, while also granting the full benefits of Xbox Live Gold. These extra benefits also cost more than the standard Xbox Game Pass subscription. Secondly this will only apply to “supported countries” which have not been officially announced as yet.
This comes from Head of Xbox Phil Spencer who recently published a post on Xbox Wire called “You Are the Future of Gaming“. This post details much of how Xbox is going to be working going into the next generation of consoles as well as gaming with the Xbox brand on PC and cloud.
“With cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet. And because Xbox Live connects across devices, you can play along with the nearly 100 million Xbox Live players around the world. So when Halo Infinite launches, you and your friends can play together and immerse yourselves in the Halo universe as Master Chief—anywhere you go and across devices,” Spencer writes.
Like Halo Infinite, other first party Xbox games landed on Game Pass on day one of their release. Titles like Gears Tactics also received this treatment, and Spencer has reaffirmed subscribers that this will continue into the future. The next game to receive this treatment will be Microsoft Fight Simulator when it launches on 18th August.
Other points of interest from Spencer’s post include a stance against hate and harassment on the Xbox platforms, continued game support for the outgoing Xbox One for “the next couple of years”, and more mention of backwards compatibility for the Xbox Series X.
It seems like the ethos of the company, at least in the short term future, is that the two consoles will live side by side. There’s also more mention of Smart Delivery – where you can buy a game once and play it on both consoles. We have to hope that Smart Delivery, and the PlayStation equivalent, is a permanent feature for future consoles.
The Project xCloud inclusion announcement is the real star of the show here but it looks like Spencer has used the news to package together a lot of other benefits about Xbox’s growing platforms which are simply not just one console anymore.