Just when we thought Microsoft’s xCloud for Apple was dead, Apple went ahead and updated their developers’ TOA (again), all but killing off our hopes again. Already released on Android devices, Microsoft’s Project xCloud (which is officially known as “Xbox Cloud Gaming”) doesn’t appear to be coming to iOS devices anytime soon, though it appears that Xbox game streaming will be coming to iPhone and iPad devices at some point, as The Verge pointed out today.
So what’s the difference, you ask? Let us explain… Microsoft’s xCloud (Xbox Cloud Gaming) is a game streaming service that utilizes Microsoft’s servers to stream games to a user’s device, similar to Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+, but for games. However, Xbox game streaming will stream Xbox games from you own actual Xbox One for games already installed on your Xbox One. The new Xbox app is currently in beta on TestFlight. At the time of this writing, there are unfortunately no beta slots available, but according to The Verge, the updated app could land itself on the App Store soon.
This comes on the heels of the Epic vs Games dispute, as well as Microsoft abruptly ending the iOS beta of the Project xCloud app due to limitations caused by Apple’s rules. Much to the chagrin of many gamers, Apple’s latest service agreement update, at first seemed to offer the promise of easing some of the restrictions that were getting in the way, actually turned out to be just another roadblock. Apple’s new updated terms allows game streaming, but requires that any game available on the service also have a product page in the App Store. This would therefore cause each and every game on the streaming service to have to pass through the same rigorous app review process for every single game on the streaming service. Given the sheer number of titles on Xbox Cloud Gaming from broad array of developers, its a near impossible feat to achieve. In addition, Apple would likely look to Microsoft for a 30% cut of the subscription cost.
However, this new game streaming app will bypass all this, much like PlayStation’s remote play does for the PlayStation 4.
There are a few caveats to game streaming. For one, it requires an Xbox One, something that would have not been required with Project xCloud (Xbox Cloud Gaming). It also requires that Xbox be accessible to the internet and online, and the game must be downloaded and installed on the host Xbox device. Game streaming should be available over wifi, as well running over a LTE/5G connection data connection. Of course, performance is going to be dependent on your home internet speeds, as well as the speed of your wireless data connection, when the devices you are streaming between are not on the same network.
It looks like Xbox game streaming on iPhone isn’t dead yet…It just won’t be the cloud gaming that Android users with an Xbox Game Pass subscription can already enjoy.
The Verge also posted some working video today via Twitter, which is included below.