At Microsoft’s annual X0 fan conference in London on Thursday, Microsoft confirmed a huge piece of news for its game-streaming platform, Project xCloud. The service will launch with full compatibility for all Xbox software in “2020,” meaning that it will work with “all games you own, or games you purchase in the future,” according to xCloud reps.
What’s more, Xbox may have just thrown the gauntlet down in the game-streaming price wars by announcing a clear tie between the Project xCloud streaming service and the paid Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
“Next year, we will bring game streaming to Xbox Game Pass, so that you are free to discover and play anywhere and everywhere,” xCloud General Manager Catherine Gluckstein told the X019 crowd on Thursday.
Xbox representatives did not directly answer Ars’ questions about pricing information—particularly whether this “free to discover and play” statement means Xbox Game Pass will come with unfettered streaming access to its 100+ game library at no additional charge. Instead, they responded to our questions with the following statement: “We want to offer choice in how players stream games from the cloud. We’ll have more details to share at a later date.”
If Game Pass winds up including free game streaming as an option, that would put Xbox’s $10/month service in an entirely different tier of value and convenience than Google Stadia. Google’s upcoming service, set to launch November 19 in an early Founders Edition bundle, currently requires its users to pay full retail price for each of its titles, which can then be streamed to compatible devices. At launch, this will be limited to compatible Chromecast Ultra devices, though options will broaden to mobile devices, Chrome Web browsers, and more.
Stadia users can also pay $10/mo for a “Stadia Pro” tier, which adds one free game a month and upgrades its streaming signal to 4K resolution. Next year, Google will roll out a “Stadia Base” tier, which will let users buy and stream games at 1080p resolution without paying an additional monthly fee.
Today’s X019 announcement also included news that Project xCloud will arrive on Windows 10 PCs in 2020, on top of its current beta-test availability on Android devices. Next year will also see xCloud reach more regions for both its testing phase (which is currently live in the United States, Korea, and the UK for invited beta users) and its live, final version. That’s good news for hopeful streaming players in Canada, India, Japan and Western Europe. And controller compatibility with xCloud will be broader by 2020, as well, including discrete support for Sony’s DualShock 4 controller via a Bluetooth connection.
Current beta testers, meanwhile, just got a new slew of games to test today, jumping from the initial test’s four-strong selection to over 50 games. It’s a meaty library, too, full of some particularly recent games—and while it’s not a mirror of the Xbox Game Pass library, it certainly stands in stark contrast to the 12 games available for early Stadia users starting next week. The full xCloud testing list is below, with previously available games marked with asterisks.
- Ace Combat 7
- ARK: Survival Evolved
- The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut
- Battle Chasers: Nightwar
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
- Borderlands 2
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- Conan Exiles
- Crackdown 3 (campaign)
- Darksiders III
- Dead Island Definitive Edition
- Devil May Cry 5
- F1 2019
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
- Gears 5*
- Halo 5: Guardians*
- Halo Wars 2
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
- Hello Neighbor
- theHunter: Call of the Wild
- Just Cause 4
- Killer Instinct*
- Madden NFL 20
- Mark of the Ninja: Remastered
- Mutant Year Zero
- Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
- Puyo Puyo Champions
- Sea of Thieves*
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Sniper Elite 4
- Soul Calibur VI
- State of Decay 2
- Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
- Tekken 7
- Warhammer: Vermintide 2
- West of Dead (beta)
- World of Final Fantasy Maxima
- World of Tanks: Mercenaries
- World of Warships: Legends
- World War Z
- WRC 7 FIA World Rally Championship
- WWE 2K20
- Yoku’s Island Express
- Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game
- Google Stadia launches backup Premiere Edition as Founders pre-order sells out
- Sony slashes PlayStation Now streaming prices ahead of Google Stadia launch
- Microsoft launching public xCloud streaming test on Android in October
- Microsoft’s Game Streaming Service Project xCloud Will Have Public Trials This Year