Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Xbox cloud game streaming coming to iOS in 2021

Microsoft Gaming chief vice president Jerret West in a blog post:

In Spring 2021, we will take the next step in our journey to reach more players around the world by making cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate available on Windows PCs through the Xbox app and browser, and iOS devices through mobile web browser.

After having their cloud gaming attempts rebuffed by Apple due to App Store rules, Microsoft reputedly shifted their strategy to providing the service via the browser—it now officially launches next year. This follows similar end-runs by Google and Amazon with their Stadia and Luna services.

Of course, Microsoft also offers a game streaming option from a local console on your network, which you can do via the Xbox app on iOS. (The difference there primarily being it doesn’t necessarily require a monthly subscription fee of which Apple wants its cut.) So that’s not annoying at all.

Personally, I think this is an aberration that will in time end up with fully native iOS apps for game streaming services. Those services aren’t going away and, frankly, they’re only going to get more prominent in the next several years—the same way that streaming video and music has become a dominant form of consumption. Apple certainly doesn’t want its platform to be a second-class citizen in that regard.

The big question, though, will be how well these services perform in Safari, and whether they’re good enough.


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