If there is one thing that many Xbox fans have been waiting for, it is bringing xCloud, or as Microsoft calls it, Cloud Gaming, to the PC. It has been an odd omission in the Cloud Gaming narrative so far but that should be changing in the near future.
Back in December, Microsoft announced that iOS and PC would be added to the xCloud experience in the spring of 2021 and now we are starting to see a little bit of progress towards meeting that objective.
During the past couple of weeks, Microsoft has rolled out ‘Cloud Gaming’, via the browser, to a large group of users inside of Microsoft. To date, this is the largest group of cloud gaming beta testers for the PC iteration of the service and this is one of the last steps before it is offered publicly in a preview state.
For those who are currently testing the service inside of Microsoft, they report that the experience is a bit buggy at the moment but that’s to be expected. Also, the streaming service only works with Chrome and Edge at this time, Firefox and Safari users will need to change their browsing habits if they want to use the service.
One thing that I am not entirely sure of at this time is if the stand-alone app for Cloud Gaming is going to exist when the service makes its public debut. Late last year, there was an app that leaked that allowed you to play xCloud on your PC through but that app experience may be going away in favor of the browser solution.
Microsoft could still choose to offer both solutions, after all, the ‘app’ could just be a web-wrapper but the substance is that Cloud Gaming on the PC is moving forward at a rate that should allow Microsoft to meet its stated goal of a spring release. That being said, the iOS iteration of the service does not appear to be as far along in the testing phases as the PC but that solution is a bit more complicated thanks to Apple’s store policies.
xCloud initially launched on Android and those users can stream games today. But with billions of more users on PC and iOS, enabling these platforms to stream the games will open up the world of Xbox to a much larger gaming audience.