[GUIDE] : How Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud will merge: understand everything in 5 points
As expected, Microsoft will merge its Xbox Game Pass (subscription game catalog) and Project xCloud (streaming video games) services. The Netflix of gaming is here.
A week before the conference focused on Xbox Series X, Phil Spencer, boss of the Xbox branch, spoke on the Wire portal. In his long subject titled ‘You are the future of video games’, he flaunts the promises, technologies and services associated with the future Microsoft console. We especially discover that the Xbox Game Pass and the xCloud Project will merge from September of this year – including in France.
“With the arrival of cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play more than a hundred titles from Xbox Game Pass on your phone or tablet”, promises the person concerned. In short, the famous video game Netflix will indeed become a reality for Microsoft. What are the ins and outs of this obvious marriage? We take stock.
WHAT IS THAT ?
Xbox Game Pass, launched in June 2017, is a subscription that allows Xbox One and PC gamers to access an evolving game catalog. Today, dozens of titles are available, knowing that Microsoft integrates its exclusives from the day of their release. Unlike Netflix or another SVOD platform, this is not about streaming: you have to download and install the games one by one.
This is where Project xCloud comes in. This technology brings the missing link to Game Pass to become a real Netflix of video games: streaming. Microsoft has been working on cloud gaming for years and Project xCloud is currently available in closed beta in several countries (including France).
“Thanks to cloud gaming and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, your games will no longer be confined to the living room. When cloud gaming arrives in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you’ll be able to continue your game where you left off on any other device, just like you continue playing your movies, shows, or music now with your favorite services, ”says Phil Spencer.
OVER ONE HUNDRED GAMES AVAILABLE IN STREAMING
With this merger, it will be possible to access Xbox Game Pass games through the magic of streaming on any compatible device. At the time of writing, on July 17, 2020, the catalog offers 371 games (cumulative on PC and Xbox One). They will not all be available on mobile platforms: Phil Spencer speaks only of “a hundred titles”. We can be sure that Microsoft exclusives will be part of it, in the wake of Halo Infinite, expected for the end of 2020.
Note that it will be possible to play online thanks to Xbox Live, included in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. You can therefore compete with your friends from your smartphone, even if they are on console.
THE IOS BLUR
In France, the Project xCloud beta is only available on Android devices that meet the following criteria: Android 6.0 operating system and Bluetooth 4.0 (minimum). It is also necessary to protect yourself from an Xbox wireless controller (which is very easy to pair with your phone or tablet). To improve ergonomics, there are clips to physically attach it.
IOS compatibility still surrounds compatibility, although there is a very limited testing program in the US, UK, and Canada (with only one game available). Things could nonetheless settle between now and the launch.
To take advantage of Project xCloud, Microsoft recommends a Wi-Fi or mobile connection with a reception speed of 10 Mbits / s. This is comparable to what Google recommends for playing Stadia in HD quality. Of course, the greater the bandwidth, and the lower the latency, the smoother and more quality the experience will be.
INTEGRATED WITH THE ULTIMATE OPTION
Microsoft preferred to integrate Project xCloud into the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate formula – the most expensive – “at no additional cost”, rather than opting for a service billed separately. This way it is much easier to understand. To date, this subscription is offered at 12.99 euros – compared to 9.99 euros for the basic Xbox Game Pass. By adding Project xCloud in its offering, the Ultimate option gains even more interest.
TOWARDS MASSIVE DEPLOYMENT?
Project xCloud takes the form of an application called Xbox Game Streaming. It can therefore potentially be installed anywhere, like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Cloud gaming was the technology that Game Pass lacked to expand its borders. Ultimately, we could easily find it on a television, as long as it is connected to the internet and can accept an Xbox controller, or a TV box. Microsoft’s strategy is based on this openness and the Game Pass represents its Trojan Horse to reach as many people as possible. We recall the objective: 2 billion players.
MICROSOFT: A POSSIBLE MERGER BETWEEN XBOX GAME PASS AND XCLOUD?
In addition to a wide range of new games and its new console slated for release next year, Microsoft also provided several details regarding his xCloud streaming service during E3 2019. Despite this, the new cloud gaming service from the Redmond firm is still quite mysterious on several points, including its price list and technical details.
In an interview with the American media The Verge, Phil Spencer – boss of the Xbox branch – provided some clarifications. He notably mentioned the idea of merging Game Pass and xCloud.
According to an IPSOS poll, only 15% of European gamers are interested in cloud gaming services such as Stadia (Google) and xCloud (Microsoft). Would the merger of Game Pass and xCloud be likely to appeal to a greater percentage of consumers?
What we already know about the xCloud project
xCloud arrives in public beta in October 2019, that is to say a month before the release of the new cloud gaming service – Stadia – from Google.
At E3 2019, Microsoft introduced the “Console Streaming” feature for its new video game streaming service. The latter will allow players to play the games available on their Xbox One game console on any screen (TV, PC, tablet, smartphone and others), for free.
The functionality will also be available through the Xbox One made available by Microsoft in the cloud. However, this option will be chargeable. It will likely require a subscription.
The merger of Game Pass and xCloud?
During his interview with The Verge, Phil Spencer seemed to like the idea of merging xCloud and Game Pass. Thus, the xCloud program could be integrated into the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offer which brings together the Game Pass for Xbox One, the Game Pass for PC and the Live Gold subscription for 12.99 euros per month.
“You think of a subscription model like Game Pass, and I find the idea of Game Pass and xCloud to make a lot of sense. Imagine what their convergence would look like. I think it’s smart to think about it. We haven’t announced anything to that effect, but I would say it makes sense. How do I build my game library? The Game Pass is a great way to collect a lot of content. Then, how do I access this catalog wherever I go? Am I using Microsoft’s hardware or what I have at home? “
It’s official: Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud will merge
Microsoft just officially announced today that from September, in the countries concerned (including Belgium), the Xbox Game Pass and the XCloud project will merge, at no additional cost, for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members.
With the arrival of cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play over a hundred Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet. And because Xbox Live connects all compatible devices, you’ll also be able to play online with millions of Xbox Live gamers around the world, such as the upcoming Halo Infinite.
An announcement that makes sense and is perfectly anchored in Microsoft’s logic to offer its content ever more easily to players through Cloud Gaming, whether on the Xbox Series X or PC.
Project xCloud: an announced merger with Xbox Game Pass
Microsoft is listening to gamers. This is why the American giant has just announced the merger, at no additional cost, of Project xCloud with Xbox Game Pass from this September for members of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
You will therefore be able to play over a hundred titles from Xbox Game Pass on your phone or tablet through Project xCloud. And because Xbox Live connects all compatible devices, you can even enjoy it with your friends. When Halo Infinite is released, you and your friends will be able to play it together, no matter what device you’re using and wherever you go.
Thanks to cloud gaming, your games will no longer be playable only in your living room. You can continue your game where you left off on any other device, just as you continued playing your shows, music or movies on your favorite services.
Video games are a source of joy, social connection, and inspiration. They can bring us together, create empathy and strengthen the social fabric. Microsoft’s efforts will continue to make video games more inclusive, more immersive, more connected, and more social.