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Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming is finally native on PCs

Players will still need a Game Pass Ultimate subscription if they want to stream.

Published onAugust 9, 2021

Xbox Cloud Gaming on a Microsoft Surface PC.
  • Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming is now available through the native Windows Xbox app.
  • Players must be signed up as an Xbox Insider.
  • They must also have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

Microsoft has launched its first native PC support for Xbox Cloud Gaming by way of an updated Xbox app for Windows. PC gamers were previously forced to connect via the Xbox website.

The update is currently restricted to members of the Xbox Insider program in 22 supported countries, such as the US and Canada, according to the official Xbox blog. Insiders must specifically sign up for the Windows Gaming preview in the Xbox Insider Hub app, after which cloud games should show up in the Xbox app’s Game Pass tab. As before, cloud support is only available to people with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which in the US costs $14.99 per month after a $1 intro period.

Gamers must further have a compatible Xbox controller hooked up, but some of the advantages of the native app include quick access to social features and connection status. It can also be used to stream games from an Xbox console on a local network.

Microsoft is often considered to be at the forefront of cloud gaming because of its pricing model and library. Ultimate subscribers can play anything in the Game Pass library at no extra cost, including classics like Alien: Isolation and more recent titles like The Ascent. This compares against Google Stadia, which does offer free access to some games, but even a $9.99 Pro subscription often requires people to pay extra for specific titles, which won’t work offline or without a subscription. Anything on Game Pass can be bought and kept separately, though Xbox Cloud Gaming is currently limited to console titles, excluding things in the Game Pass for PC library.

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