Last year, when Microsoft announced xCloud, the company’s game-streaming service, the simple question of “when will it become available” has been on the tongue of every gamer. Today, during Microsoft’s Inside Xbox event, the company shared the first details about how to join the preview program.
In the coming weeks, Microsoft will begin sending invites out to those who have registered to join the preview of xCloud. The service will be offered in the US, UK, and Korea. If you are in the US or UK, you can register here, Korea can register here, and after that, it’s up to being a winner of the preview lottery.
But, there are a few things you need to know that will help determine if you will be able to participate in the preview. First and foremost is that you need to be using an Android device, iOS users are out of luck at the moment.
Specifically, you will need a device running Android 6.0 or higher with Bluetooth 4.0, and a Bluetooth Xbox One controller. Along with the right hardware, you will need the new Microsoft Game Streaming application as well.
Somewhat surprisingly, you will be able to play xCloud over WiFi and mobile networks from day one. I would have expected that the first phase of the preview would be limited to your own home network at first but it looks like Microsoft is confident in letting gamers try the service using LTE as well.
If you do not make it into the first round of invites for the preview program, Microsoft says that they will be adding more users during the trial period after the initial group provides feedback.
Microsoft is limiting the games that can be played during the xCloud preview period to Halo 5, Gears 5, Killer Instinct and Sea of Thieves. More games will be added in the future, but this is what the company will be allowing xCloud preview testers to trial; you do not need to own any of the games to participate in the preview.
There is no definitive length for the preview of xCloud. Microsoft will run the program until they are satisfied with the feedback and results of the trial but it’s not hard to imagine that there is pressure from Stadia to get this product out the door sooner, rather than later.
This is the next big step in the xCloud journey for Microsoft. If all goes well, in the not-too-distant future, you will be able to play your Xbox games anywhere, on any device, at any time.