Today Microsoft announced that its video game streaming service, Project xCloud, will be available to anyone who subscribes to Game Pass Ultimate later this year.
Currently in beta, Project xCloud lets you stream Xbox games to phones and tablets. Come September, anyone with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which bundles Game Pass and Xbox Live together for $15 a month, will be able to use xCloud, including for streaming the full library of games currently available on Game Pass. So for example, when Halo Infinite comes out later this year, you’ll be able to play it on Xbox One, Xbox Series, X, or your phone via xCloud, with save data and progress carrying over across each of those platforms.
This is the type of plan Microsoft has been hinting at for a long time, and while it’s not completely clear if September marks the full launch of the complete xCloud streaming service, it’ll be the first time a major part of its functionality will be available to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. It also means that the service won’t cost anything additional to those who are already paid into the Xbox subscription ecosystem.
In the blog post announcing the xCloud roll out, Xbox boss Phil Spencer also ran through a number of other details about its plans for Xbox Series X, including backwards compatibility. “It’s our intent for all Xbox One games that do not require Kinect to play on Xbox Series X at the launch of the console,” Spencer wrote. While that’s still short of a full promise, it’s some of the strongest language yet that either Microsoft or Sony have put forward about backwards compatibility for current-gen games on the next-gen consoles. Also pour one out for Fruit Ninja Kinect 2.
Spencer also reaffirmed the company’s commitment to making gaming on Xbox less toxic. “As we say in our community standards, harassment and hate take many forms, but none have a home on Xbox,” Spencer wrote. “Should you feel others are behaving in ways that violate the standards, our safety team will investigate your report and support you 24/7/365 around the globe.”
Last month, a former employee of Microsoft’s Mixer streaming platform spoke out about racist behavior by one of their managers at the company. The employee had a meeting with Spencer to discuss the issue, but it’s unclear what followed from that. Microsoft announced around the same time that it was shutting down Mixer permanently.