If you’re willing to jump through a few hoops to get there, the dream of being able to play console-quality games on your smartphone is now a fact.
Thanks to the company’s xCloud technology, Android phones are now able to play Xbox games (and soon Xbox Series X games) on their smartphones, which enables you to stream titles available on Xbox Games Transfer directly to your computer.
In the second half of 2020, this latest feature was introduced and now allows you to play some of the best new games. You won’t use the processing power of your phone, though, and instead you’ll only stream it directly from Microsoft’s own servers to your device’s screen.
To be able to make the most of these features, you won’t need an Xbox console either, and this means you can play games such as Sea of Thieves, Halo 5 or Forza Horizon 4 without purchasing an Xbox console or a PC.
To get started, what you’ll need.
This is the number one thing as you’re going to need some professional equipment and subscriptions to be able to get going using Cloud Gaming on your computer.
First off, what phone have you got? If you have a relatively new Android phone, you will be able to download the Xbox Games Pass app directly from the Google Play Store to use this service.
Notice the app name as there are a few different Microsoft and Xbox applications in the store, but to go any further, you would specifically need the Xbox Games Pass one.
How do you know if it’s compatible with your Android phone or tablet? You’ll be able to use this if it features Android 6 Marshmallow (that’s some remarkably old tech now) as well as Bluetooth 4.0 or above.
You’ll be able to play titles if you can grab the app from the Google Play store. And don’t think about your device’s processing power here.
It’s all done by Microsoft’s own servers, and you’ll only watch a video of the game you’re playing instead.
First, you’ll need an Xbox Games Pass Ultimate subscription. As part of Xbox Games Pass Ultimate, Microsoft provides xCloud streaming capability, which is the highest service standard, and it ensures that you have access to the game library as well as Xbox Live Gold for multiplayer services.
Xbox Games Pass Ultimate is $15 / £10.99 / AU$15.95 a month, or you can even buy it for longer-lasting subscriptions.
In order to play the games, you’ll still need a controller to connect to your smartphone, and this is where you’re most likely to need to buy any new technology to be able to play. The list of compatible controllers is long, so check out the official list of controllers from Microsoft.
The company obviously recommends one of its own controllers for the service, but other alternatives seemed to fit well in our service testing, such as Sony’s DualShock 4.
We’ve also tested the dedicated Razer Kishi controller separately, and we found that this works fantastically with the service, so if you’re playing on a tablet, you might want to consider that.
A solid internet connection is the last thing you’ll need. Microsoft suggests that you use Wi-Fi and the 5 GHz arm of that link, preferably. We found it to operate on a 2.4GHz connection, but on a 5GHz connection, the efficiency improved greatly.
You will find this difficult if you are insistent on using mobile data, but a 5 G link should be able to handle it with ease. To be able to play properly, the company recommends 10Mpbs download rates, and that can be difficult to find in certain places.
How to Set Up It
Now, it is time for some games to be played. As you have anticipated, attach your controller to your console and make sure that you have downloaded the Xbox Games Pass app to your device with all your sign-in information ready to go.
You’ll be welcomed with all the games you have access to play once you’ve booted the software up. The games you have played recently will appear in the section “Jump back in” and you will also be able to find all the games in the section below.
Tap the tile that you want to try, and if it’s compatible with your system, you’ll be able to click the “Play” button and then load the title with the service. It might take a while to boot up, but in a few minutes, you should be playing your game as long as possible.
What are you able to play?
In the Android Cloud Gaming beta, most Xbox Games Pass titles are available, but you’ll note that there are a few exceptions to that law.
The lineup is likely to change, but on the Microsoft website, you can find the complete games you can play directly and search for those that say they work on both console and Android.