Microsoft is kicking its Project xCloud game streaming service up a gear. In an interview with The Verge, the company's head of Xbox and gaming, Phil Spencer, says the platform will launch fully in September. Furthermore, it will be available for free to Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.
Project xCloud has been in preview since last year but Microsoft wants to move to the next stage, including giving the platform its full launch name.
With xCloud, Microsoft is extending the availability of Xbox games across platforms. By leveraging Azure cloud, the company will allow users to play Xbox titles on mobile devices. There is direct integration with Xbox, with gamers able to start a game on console and resume it on a smartphone or tablet.
For Xbox Game Pass Ultimate customers, there will be free access to xCloud. This subscription level also bundles Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass. If you're unfamiliar with Game Pass, it allows users to access hundreds of Xbox titles through a monthly subscription. The Ultimate version of the package costs $14.99 per month.
When Project xCloud launches in September, over 100 Game Pass titles will be accessible. It is worth noting the company says Game Pass Ultimate will be the only way to use xCloud at launch. However, the company says the game streaming service will extend to other platforms after.
“Over time we will continue to expand how we introduce streaming as part of the platform, and playing games that you own that aren't part of the subscription,” says Microsoft's Xbox chief Phil Spencer. “For launch we're putting it in Ultimate for no additional cost. We think it's a good audience for us to start with, and it's an audience that plays a lot of games.”
Microsoft has been clear that it wants xCloud to be available to everybody. However, during previews, Android devices have more features than iOS. Microsoft says this is because Apple has App Store policies that hinder xCloud. Still, the company is working with Apple to resolve issues.
“We want to bring xCloud, eventually, to every screen that someone can stream games to. Right now we're just saying mobile,” adds Spencer. “There are discussions going on and we're working through things. We'll talk more specifically about which mobile devices through August and the September launch.”
Other information provided by Spencer includes confirmation Project xCloud supports Sony's PS4 controller. He also said the service will receive a new name upon launch. Finally, Spencer said more details will be released next month.