Microsoft’s streaming platform for video games, xCloud, will officially launch on Sept. 15.
The service will be included with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (a combination of Xbox Live and a game subscription service), which costs $15 per month.
“With cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet.” The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, posted on Microsoft’s website. “And because Xbox Live connects across devices, you can play along with the nearly 100 million Xbox Live players around the world.”
xCloud will initially only be available on Android devices, with plans to expand to PC. Microsoft has made no announcements yet on support for Apple products.
“It’s our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices, but we have nothing further to share at this time regarding iOS,” A Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge.
The Razer Kishi, whose design is reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch, runs anywhere from $80 to $100 and comes with a two-week free trial of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
According to CNBC, the xCloud is meant to be a cheaper replacement for buying a console or gaming computer.
The concept of cloud gaming has been gaining traction in recent years, especially with the video game rental industry’s demise, but the execution has been mixed.
Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce Now, which operate primarily on an à la carte rather than subscription model, have been subject to complaints of a limited catalog. Nvidia got into a licensing dispute with Activision Blizzard, prompting Blizzard, followed by Bethesda, to back away from GeForce Now in February.
PlayStation Now is the platform that is probably the most similar, and most directly competitive with Xbox Game Pass and xCloud. It’s been around since 2014 and is available on the PS4 and Windows PC. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will allow streaming on Xbox One, PC, and Android phones and tablets.
The main differences boil down to the exclusive games available on each console, although PS Now has a larger catalog, while Xbox Game Pass tends to have more recent games.
The announcements by Microsoft are likely to garner publicity as it prepares to release the Xbox Series X console, which will compete with Sony’s soon-to-be-released Playstation 5.
For a full list of the 22 countries in which xCloud will launch, and the 36 titles they have announced thus far, check out the Verge.