The next big step in gaming is game streaming, as evidenced by Google, Microsoft, and Nvidia launching competing services. As Project xCloud readies its launch in September, Microsoft is finally explaining the service’s pricing and its integration with Xbox Game Pass.
Of the two major game streaming services that have officially launched, Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now, each has used an entirely different pricing structure. GeForce Now relies upon your library of games purchased from storefronts like Steam and Epic Games Store plus a monthly fee for sessions over one hour. Meanwhile, Stadia is a marketplace of its own, meaning you need to purchase games specifically for the platform. Neither of these models fits with the “Netflix for games” that gamers have been clamoring for.
For its part, Microsoft has simply offered its full library of games to anyone who was accepted into the Project xCloud Beta test, including new releases like Gears 5, while never diving into the specifics of how pricing will work.
Today, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has shared the company’s broader vision for Xbox, touching on a variety of subjects, most relating to the transition of players from their current generation of Xbox One consoles to the new Xbox Series X. At the end though, Spencer reveals that Project xCloud is set to publicly release this September in its supported regions.
Update 8/4: Today, Microsoft has given us a bit more details about Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and its accompanying xCloud streaming. Starting September 15th, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members will have access to game streaming on their Android phones.
Game Pass Ultimate will include over 100 games, many of which have been enjoyed by those who got into the Project xCloud beta. All said and done, Microsoft really seems to want to deliver the “Netflix of games” experience that game streaming fans have been asking for.
In order to use Project xCloud at launch, you’ll need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership. Up to this point, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offered Xbox One and Windows 10 players the ability to download and play any of the over 100 games in the library. By adding on Project xCloud streaming to phones and tablets, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will be the closest thing to a “Netflix for games.”
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and therefore Project xCloud, costs $15 per month, only a few bucks more per month than a Google Stadia Pro subscription. By comparison, a $10 per month Stadia Pro subscription offers a handful of free games each month and the ability to play most of your games in 4K and HDR.
Alongside the new pricing details, Microsoft has affirmed that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members will be able to play Halo Infinite on its launch day across Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Project xCloud.
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