Microsoft’s Xbox cloud gaming initiative, otherwise known as xCloud, has been making its mark on Android phones and tablets for the past year or so. However, Microsoft has been working on bringing its cloud gaming service to browsers on PC and Mac. We’ve now got our first look at how the UI may look upon its public release.
The Verge published a detailed report on what the UI currently looks like. Microsoft is reportedly hosting a testing phase for its Xbox game streaming through a browser. Currently, the browser support is only limited to Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.
Much like the version available on Android devices, the browser version connects to a user’s Microsoft account and acts as a launcher to their available games. The web version of xCloud will be able to launch available titles and stream them directly to the user without the need to install them on their PC beforehand. All titles currently accessible through Xbox Game Pass is said to be accessible on the web version. The Verge states that once a game is launched, it will automatically run in full screen and will need a controller to play the streamed titles.
scoop: here’s a first look at Microsoft’s xCloud for the web. Streaming Xbox games to your browser is coming soon, and to iPhone and iPads. Details here: https://t.co/eDlLbyMAUL pic.twitter.com/Txskna7Mza
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) February 15, 2021
Currently, Microsoft is using Xbox One S server blades for the xCloud infrastructure. Therefore, it’s not likely that streamed games will be able to hit 4K 60FPS for the time being. It has been reported that the company will be upgrading to use the Xbox Series X hardware for streaming this year, which would improve the quality.
Last year, xCloud support was rolled into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Subscribers to the service in supported countries would get instant access to the cloud gaming service on Android devices.
A large motivating factor at play is xCloud’s exclusion from landing on iOS and macOS devices. Apple’s strict policies on game streaming services have made it so xCloud is not available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac products. Apple claimed that Microsoft would have to submit each game available to stream for review, which caused Microsoft to seek alternatives.
A public preview of xCloud’s web browser is said to be coming later this spring. Much like xCloud on mobile, Microsoft is taking it slow and allowing as many users as possible to test the service before a much wider launch.