In brief: If you’re planning on using Microsoft’s recently launched xCloud service for streaming games to your phone, a handset controller will make life a lot easier. There are plenty to choose from, including an upcoming pair from Nacon that feature both wireless connectivity and official Xbox branding.
Nacon’s new MG-X Series has been specially designed for Android mobile devices and the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which combines the Game Pass, Xbox Gold online gaming, and the xCloud streaming service.
The MG-X Series controllers include adjustable stands that can secure any Android phone up to 6.7 inches, so you’ll be able to squeeze the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in there—just. And instead of connecting via USB like many similar controllers, these use Bluetooth 4.2. While the company states they’re for Android phones, the wireless functionality means they could work on Apple devices in the future should Microsoft’s web version become
The first time you boot up an Xbox One game on an Android phone can be surreal. Earlier this month, I opened the Game Pass app on a Pixel 3A phone, connected an Xbox One controller via Bluetooth in the device settings, and tapped the “play” button on the page for Halo 5: Guardians. After a somewhat lengthy loading time, there I was on the menu screen, ready to play the exact same Halo 5 campaign that I left unfinished back in 2016.
It surprised me that my save file was intact and accessible in the cloud, letting me pick up right where I left off. The best part: I didn’t even have to unpack the Xbox One where I originally played the game. It’s sitting unplugged in a box, exactly where I left it since moving back to the East Coast at the end of the summer.
Several sources reported this week that Microsoft is working on a browser-based edition of its cloud gaming service Project xCloud. Business Insider reported that Xbox chief Phil Spencer told Microsoft employees at a meeting Wednesday that the company will pursue a “direct browser-based solution” for bringing the Xbox Game Pass to Apple’s family of devices.
If this were to work similarly to features on other services such as Google Stadia, it would allow Game Pass subscribers to connect to xCloud’s servers on an Apple device via its web browser, rather than launching any kind of discreet individual app. It would work identically to how one logs into any other streaming service, such as Netflix or Hulu,
Xbox cloud gaming launched last month with a lineup of more than 170 games. Now, anyone with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription automatically has access to Xbox cloud gaming (otherwise known as Project xCloud) and can play Xbox games on their Android smartphone or tablet. However, you’ll need a phone controller if you want to experience cloud gaming, and there are a lot of different choices to consider, from official pads that require mobile controller clips to third-party ones that don’t. Thankfully, some of the best Xbox One controllers are compatible with Android devices, and there are a lot of other great cloud gaming controller options as well.
That’s why we’ve tested and identified our picks for the best xCloud controller for use for Xbox cloud gaming on our Android phones. Each of the following controllers provides a unique but great experience, and it can be hard to tell
Earlier this year, Microsoft added Project xCloud gaming streaming to Xbox Game Pass. That roll out came after a long alpha testing period, but even though game streaming is part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate package, it’s only available on Android devices. Given Apple’s rules regarding App Store distribution, it’s safe to say that game streaming won’t be coming to iOS anytime soon, but what about other platforms like Xbox One and PC?
It’s a good question, because Microsoft has talked about platform-agnostic game streaming plenty of times in the past. As it turns out, this current focus on Android doesn’t necessarily mean that mobile streaming is going to be the only option from here on out. In fact, in a new tweet, Xbox chief Phil Spencer says that streaming to Xbox and PC is something that Microsoft wants to pursue in the future.
I think we can all remember a time, not all that long ago, when mobile games were nothing more than silly little diversions. Time wasters, mostly. Popular downloads like Flappy Bird, Cut the Rope and Angry Birds were admittedly fun—though ultimately shallow—experiences designed to be digested in small, bite-sized chunks.
Well, as simple and arguably charming as those initial forays into mobile gaming were, they’re a far cry from where the industry currently resides. And boy, have we come a long way.
Earlier this summer, AR sensation Pokemon Go surpassed $3.6 billion in lifetime revenue, while battle royale pioneer PUBG Mobile has pulled in over $3 billion since its launch back in 2018. Just as impressive, the mobile edition of Fortnite blew past $1 billion in earnings in only two years.
It’s the massive popularity of console-style mobile titles, like
Amazon has just taken the wraps off its long-rumored Amazon Luna, meaning the company is officially jumping into the cloud gaming ring — one that has become increasingly crowded over the past year. Google launched Stadia last November, Nvidia’s GeForce Now left beta in February, and Microsoft’s cloud gaming offering (formerly known as xCloud) is included with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription as of September 15th, though it only works with Android right now.
The race is on to see which (if any) of those cloud gaming services takes off with customers, and each company is tackling cloud gaming in a slightly different way. If you’re trying to better understand each service, we’ve put together this guide for you.
Amazon’s Luna offers all-you-can-play access to different selections of games as part of separate “channels” — which sounds almost like a cable service. But at launch, you
Microsoft’s xCloud recently exited its testing phase and is now available to Android users with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, but the service isn’t available to iOS users at all. This followed an abruptly cut short test on iOS that only included one game as opposed to the several options Android users had. But this isn’t just Microsoft showing preference toward one ecosystem. Instead, it has to do with Apple’s policies.
Why xCloud Isn’t On iOS
Previously, Apple had extremely restrictive policies on the App Store that essentially barred game-streaming services from appearing at all, which is why Google Stadia has also not been available on iOS since its launch. However, it recently updated its policies to explicitly permit game-streaming services to operate via the App Store.
So, all is good now, right? Not quite. The issue is that these services will need to have separate apps for each individual game
Xbox Game Pass’s xCloud streaming service is now in beta for Android mobile devices, and the arrival of a new cloud-based streaming platform again highlights how intriguing the streaming idea can be. But streaming games from the internet, rather than playing them on your own hardware, has been around in various forms for a while, and it has always suffered from something of a practicality gap between conception and execution. Sure, if you’ve got a stable enough internet connection, it’s nice to play video games without having to spring for expensive hardware–especially in the often-confusing, technical world of PC gaming. But if you’re already pretty interested in video games, you’re probably already pretty invested in video games. For the largest audience of people who like games, what’s the real upshot of streaming if they’ve already bought in?
Playing with xCloud on an Android device, the thing that struck me most