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For gamers heading interstate for Christmas, it’s traditionally meant leaving everything but handheld systems like the Switch behind. But not anymore. Now we’ve got Xbox Cloud Gaming. Now you can play your favourite games anywhere, any time, on almost any device you have handy.
Xbox Cloud Gaming is an over-the-air game streaming service that is part of every Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Chances are, if your device supports WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and has an internet browser available, you can use it to play your Xbox games remotely. All you’ll need to have on hand is a wireless Xbox controller.
How It Works
Here’s the ‘For Dummies’ version, since it’s all a bit technical: When you boot up a game via Xbox Cloud Gaming, you are playing that game on a remote PC. That PC will be able to run the game at its maximum settings and stream a video feed of that game to you in real-time. In an ideal world, the time between your controller inputs and your character’s movement on the screen should be extremely small. So small, you barely even notice it.
Here’s What You Need
- An active Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Don’t have one? Sign up here, the first month is $1.
- A wireless Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One controller.
- An Android or iOS phone or tablet.
- A Windows PC or laptop.
- Or an Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One console.
- An available wireless network.
The Wi-Fi Situation
When connecting to wireless internet, check to see if there is a separate 5GHz frequency available. If there is one, you’ll see it listed among your wifi networks as “
Next, connect your wireless controller to your device. There are instructions on how to do that here. You don’t necessarily have to use a Wireless Xbox Controller if you don’t have one handy, either. Plenty of different controllers will work with Xbox Cloud Gaming. You can find out more about which ones here.
From here, just scroll down to find specific steps for your device.
Android users can download the Xbox Game Pass app from the Google Play Store. You’ll find Xbox Cloud Gaming on the main menu. Select the game you’d like to play and fire it up.
Things are a bit different on Apple devices. On your iPhone or iPad, open your preferred web browser and head to Xbox.com/Play. Log in with your Xbox account, and you’re ready to go.
Laptops and Desktops
If you’re using a laptop or a desktop computer, be it a Windows or a Mac machine, use the same steps as above to access Xbox Cloud Gaming from your preferred web browser.
On Windows machines, you can also download the Xbox app from the Microsoft Store. Fire it up, and log into your Xbox account. Head to the Game Pass tab at the top of the page, and then click on Cloud Gaming. You’re ready to go.
Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
If your family does have an Xbox on hand, you can still use the console to access Cloud Gaming. Make sure the Xbox in question is using the most current firmware. Most of the time, this update will be performed automatically, but just in case:
Press the Xbox button at the top of your controller to open the guide, and then select Profile & System, and then the Settings menu. Once in Settings, select System, and then Updates. If the console requires an update, you’ll be able to download and install it here. If it’s already running the latest firmware, you’re good to go.
To get Cloud Gaming running, press the Xbox button at the top of your controller to open the guide, then select My Games & Apps. From there, select See All.
Then you want to choose Full Library, and within that menu select Xbox Game Pass. From there, select any game from the list with a Cloud icon next to it to play it.
The Cloud icon looks like this:
Things To Be Aware Of
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that Xbox Cloud Gaming, at least in Australia, is still very much in beta. It requires at least a 20Gbps internet connection, so run a speed test first to make sure the connection where you’re staying can hit that metric. You may notice some artifacting or controller lag if the connection isn’t fast enough to handle the stream.
Second, always be aware of your data caps. This is especially important if you plan to use your mobile phone’s 4G or 5G hotspot as your Wi-Fi connection. While more than fast enough to run Xbox Cloud Gaming, it will chew through quite a bit of data. Make sure you’re staying on top of it so you don’t wind up with a nasty surprise on the phone bill next month.
Beyond that, have fun! Wow your friends and family with your ability to play eye-popping next-gen games without a console in sight!