Microsoft continues undeterred in its quest to blur the lines between its various platforms as far as gaming is concerned by launching the beta of Xbox Cloud Gaming on PC. By expanding Cloud Gaming to PC, players with the necessary accounts and subscriptions can stream Game Pass titles to any compatible device, removing most platform boundaries.
Xbox Cloud Gaming has already been stretching it wings with Project xCloud enabling users to stream Game Pass titles to Android tablets and mobile phones since last year, allowing players to take major AAA titles with them on the go so long as they have a sufficiently speedy data connection. Clearly, expansion is on Microsoft's agenda.
With the company already eliminating console exclusives from its gaming ecosystem by making all Xbox games playable on PC as well, this is the organic next step in the pursuit of achieving content equity across platforms.
The new beta will enable users to stream the games they can access via their Game Pass subscription to any PC running Windows 10. As the games are streamed from Microsoft's servers, users only need to worry about having a sufficient internet connection - if that's a given, then any hardware configuration will be able to run the games being streamed, no matter how much of a potato you're playing on.
In a world constantly hit with hardware shortages and where PC components are pricey and constantly being scalped, game streaming is a dream come true - no matter how weak or strong your machine is, you can play the newest, flashiest titles (as long as the service includes them). Streaming services have made mainstream gaming infinitely more accessible, which is why so many companies are pushing them.
With the advent of features like crossplay, and platform boundaries being consistently blurred, the "console war" of the past generations has mellowed into more of a "console race", with the rival manufacturers much more open to various forms of cooperation. This has led rise to rumors that Microsoft might be thinking about expanding Cloud Gaming and Game Pass to PS5 and the Nintendo Switch.
This kind of cooperation would have been unthinkable in the past generation and utterly sacrilegious in the one before that - but in the current industry climate, it actually seems pretty plausible. Well, at least on the PS5; Nintendo has maintained a position of keeping any and all streaming services off the Switch. That said, plans can change.
Cloud Gaming wouldn't be the force it is currently without Game Pass, a constantly evolving library of games that subscribers gain unlimited access to as long as their accounts are active and paying the monthly fee. Recent hits and indie treasures pop up on the service equally, with some AAA games outright becoming available on launch in rare cases. For budget users not keen on buying each individual game and an expensive gaming PC, Game Pass and Cloud Gaming is the perfect way to play.
The beta phase of Xbox Cloud Gaming on PC is live now.