Currently, the service is only available for people who are signed up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and use Android devices, - but if you've got a decent enough connection, the experience of playing AAA titles on your phone is a moreish one. Funnily enough, it's for this reason that Microsoft doesn't think that Nintendo or Sony are its rivals in the next generation of gaming.
"The traditional gaming companies are somewhat out of position," explained Phil Spencer in an interview in 2020. "I guess they could try to re-create [its own cloud technology] Azure, but we've invested tens of billions of dollars in cloud over the years." Azure is huge, offering more than 600 services across 54 regions, and its artificial intelligence has even been used in the fish farming industry to ensure quality of the stock. Incredible, right?
"Games are far and away the largest entertainment medium on the planet from a digital perspective," said Phil Harrison, former corporate vice president of Microsoft and a general manager for Google. "So that global scale and size is attractive to the large technology companies as a way of bringing their products and services to more people."
I grew up with handhelds like the Nintendo DS, and then gravitated towards the PC as I got older, and I've now shifted to the PlayStation 5 as it doesn't take as long as booting up my computer and ensuring all the bits and bobs are connected and communicating. This is where Xbox Cloud Gaming is going to get its teeth into me - it's a simple and straightforward alternative to gaming on a mobile device that I use every hour, if not more.
Also, there's just the je ne sais quoi of Grand Theft Auto V playing on a phone. Like, that sentence is still wild in 2021. With the rollout of Xbox Cloud Gaming onto PC and Apple platforms starting tomorrow, a select number of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will be invited to give it a whirl. The 100 titles will be playable through the web browsers Edge, Google Chrome, and Safari for accessibility.
"The limited beta is our time to test and learn; we'll send out more invites on a continuous basis to players in all 22 supported countries, evaluate feedback, continue to improve the experience, and add support for more devices," said vice president and head of product Catherine Gluckstein in a post to Xbox Wire.
If you're invited, all you'll need is a compatible Bluetooth or USB-connected controller, or custom touch controls are integrated into more than half of the available games. "This is an exciting step on our journey to bring gaming to the 3 billion players around the world," concluded Gluckstein. "Thanks so much for helping us shape cloud gaming, from the early days in Preview to today, quite simply we couldn't have done it without you."
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