Google has Stadia, hardware manufacturer Nvidia has GeForce Now, and Microsoft is preparing to bring its cloud gaming service, xCloud, to the general public in September 2020.
The service will be part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership programme, which costs $14.99 USD per month once trial offers have expired.
Project xCloud allows subscribers to play streamed Xbox and Windows 10 games from Android, iOS, and Windows 10 devices.
Xbox has been building a sturdy game subscription service over the last few years.
Xbox Game Pass was introduced in 2017 as a digital subscription service to games from Xbox’s internal studios and select partners.
By April 2020 it had passed 10 million subscribers and, at the time of writing in July, contains over 230 games for Xbox One and 190 for PC for a total of 371 discrete titles.
Its higher tier, Game Pass Ultimate, offers access via Xbox console or Windows 10 PC, as well as the online multiplayer part of so many titles these days, and several other bonuses such as a handful of free games on a monthly basis and store discounts.
The xCloud feature will provide over 100 of those Game Pass titles for play via the net on phones or tablet devices.
Both Xbox and traditional rival PlayStation are to launch new consoles towards the end of 2020.
The PlayStation 5 launches as two models, one with a 4K UHD Blu-ray disc drive and one without, succeeding various editions of the PlayStation 4.
Xbox is expected to do the same, but to date has only detailed the Xbox Series X, leaving an oft-rumored discless version waiting in the wings.
Hardware specifications disclosed by both companies indicate the Xbox Series X will surpass the PlayStation 5 in terms of raw power, with the PS5 offering superior loading times thanks to a unique solid state drive configuration.
Both PlayStation parent Sony Interactive Entertainment and Microsoft’s Xbox are yet to announce pricing and precise launch dates for their new consoles.
Sony’s cloud gaming service PlayStation Now, currently compatible with PS4 and Windows PC, offers both streamed gaming and game downloads.
In May 2019, Microsoft and Sony announced the latter’s commitment to using the former’s Azure server technology for PlayStation’s future cloud streaming applications.
Nintendo’s Switch console has been enjoying sales that exceed those of the PlayStation 4 in terms of annual milestones, and enters its fourth year of availability in 2021.