If you are an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Member who is interested in playing Xbox games on your Android phone or tablet, prepare to have your hands full tomorrow, literally.
Early this morning via an Xbox Wire press release, Corporate Vice President of Cloud Gaming at Microsoft Kareem Choudhry announced that Microsoft’s cloud gaming initiative (formerly known as Project xCloud), will officially become part of Xbox Game Pass App on September 15th, expanding the current limited selection of 38 games available to Ultimate members via the Xbox Game Pass App to a much more robust and finely curated library of over 150 titles. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers with a compatible Android Phone or Tablet (Android 6.0 or higher with Bluetooth 4.0 or higher) and a supported controller will be able to download the app from the Samsung Galaxy Store or Google Store, pick any game in the Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming catalogue and start playing at no additional cost. The announcement fulfills a promise made by Choudhry made back in early August and is oddly right on schedule in a month that saw more than one critically important Xbox-related event fail to unfold as planned (in both catastrophic and delightful ways).
In the release Choudhry went on to list the many inherent benefits of the service, such as the ability for gamers to easily and seamlessly continue playing their games across devices with cloud saves, play games remotely from anywhere, play the same game with their friends in the same room on different devices (e.g. playing a non-split-screen-capable online game like Sea of Thieves together with friends in the same room, where each friend is on a different device, i.e. Xbox, PC, Android), and even the ability to play Xbox games on your Android device without even needing to own an Xbox or PC at all. Also, right on the heels of last week’s well-received price and release date reveals for the upcoming Xbox Series X/S consoles and related news, the Cloud Gaming VP expertly re-emphasized the significance of Microsoft’s new deal with Electronic Arts, which will see the latter company’s own EA Play monthly subscription service bundled in with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at no additional cost starting this holiday, bringing even more value to subscribers with even a passing interest in EA’s many critically-acclaimed offerings in sports, shooters, indie, simulation and action-adventure titles. “Some of the best EA Play games will be available for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play on Android devices via the cloud at no additional charge”, Choudhry pledged.
Finally, the release confirmed that Microsoft’s cloud gaming service for Android will be released in beta (yes, it’s still a beta) in 22 out of the 42 countries Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is currently offered in order to “ensure stability as (Microsoft) scales the feature to millions of gamers globally”.
We recently tried out the new beta version of the Xbox Game Pass app for Android last month and found that the service was not quite ready yet for prime-time, but also noted that one’s experience with the service is heavily dependent on a number of factors, including the screen size of the android device being used and the “temperament” of your local or remote Wi-Fi connection. With the full roll-out of the service tomorrow, hope springs eternal that stability improvements are fast incoming.
If you’re curious to check out Microsoft’s new Cloud Gaming service for yourself, you can try it out on Android for just $1.