With Microsoft's cloud game streaming service, xCloud, currently in beta testing for iOS and Windows 10, you may be wondering how to access the platform on these devices. Here's everything you need to know to join the xCloud beta.
What is Microsoft's xCloud Beta?
In particular, xCloud Beta isn't available as an app that you can download from the iOS App Store – although you can do just that on Android. This is because Apple has steadfastly refused to allow cloud gaming services like xCloud and Stadia in the App Store – citing liability issues.
To overcome this, xCloud on iOS devices must be accessed through a web browser such as Safari (the default browser on your iPhone or iPad). It's even easier than downloading an app. All you have to do is visit the xCloud website to get started.
What you need to join the xCloud beta
Microsoft has announced that it will be sending random invitations to existing members of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – the platform's leading game subscription service.
You must also live in one of the following countries to use xCloud: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia , Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain and the USA.
You must be using the latest version of Safari, Google Chrome, or Microsoft's own Edge browser. Unfortunately, users on iOS 13 or earlier will not be able to participate in the xCloud beta.
To find out what version of software your iOS device is running, see Apple's support page. There you will find information about the menus to be navigated to find the appropriate setting.
What to do when you receive an invitation
In addition to a device with Windows 10 or iOS 14, all that is required is a solid internet connection. Microsoft recommends that your connection support at least 10 Mbps. However, double that number – even if you just want to keep headroom for other devices in your household.
If you're using Wi-Fi, you'll want to connect to your router's 5 GHz signal. On newer routers, this is shown as a separate Wi-Fi network alongside the traditional 2.4 GHz network.
For controllers, Microsoft supports touch controls on iOS even though they run in a web browser. However, if you are looking for a more refined experience, you can plug an Xbox controller into your iOS device.
Unfortunately, Microsoft has not implemented keyboard and mouse support. This means that you need to connect a controller even under Windows 10.
If you've already received an invitation to join the xCloud beta program on iOS and Windows 10, visit the xCloud page on Xbox.com to get started. You will be asked to log into your account to check your eligibility. After that, you'll have access to all of the 100 or so games included in your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
The xCloud Beta … for now just invite
According to Microsoft, existing subscribers should automatically receive an email to participate in the xCloud beta program. To quote the company's latest post on Xbox Wire:
Our plan is to iterate quickly over the coming months and open up to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do until Microsoft decides to expand the beta program and send out a new wave of invitations. hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later.
While the preview program on Android was open to everyone, this invitation-only system certainly makes playing on xCloud a lot more complicated.
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About the author
(25 articles published)
Rahul Nambiampurath started his career as an accountant, but is now a full-time professional in technology. He is an avid fan of decentralized and open source technologies. When he's not writing, he's usually busy making wine, tinkering with his Android device, or hiking some mountains.
By Rahul Nambiampurath
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