Cloud-based game streaming hasn’t been making headlines of late unless you count the negative press that Google Stadia has been getting. In fact, the latest game streaming news once again puts Stadia at a disadvantage, even if it isn’t about Google’s service at all. Microsoft let it be known almost in passing that its Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming will be rolling out to web browsers in the next few weeks. That includes Safari, which will become Xbox Cloud Gaming’s gate pass into iPhones and iPads, something Stadia has yet to achieve.
Apple clearly wants no game streaming services on its platforms, especially the mobile ones, at least not without its control and its customary tax. Its last compromise would have forced such services to seek Apple’s approval for each and every title they want to make available for streaming on macOS and iOS. That was clearly a deal-breaker for the likes of Microsoft and Xbox who opted for a roundabout solution instead.
Last April, Xbox announced the beta testing phase for Xbox Cloud Gaming on web browsers. To be clear, Stadia already works on Chrome, including on macOS, and compatibility is a hit or miss with other Chromium-based browsers like Microsoft Edge and Vivaldi. What makes Microsoft’s announcement important was explicit support for Safari, the official web browser on Macs, iPhones, and iPads.
Now Microsoft is announcing that the beta test is over and that the feature will be available to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers in the next few weeks. Barring any other sudden policy changes from Apple, this potentially means the game streaming service’s official arrival on Apple’s mobile devices. It also means that Xbox will cover even more devices than Stadia, especially since the latter is only available on select Android phones.
This Xbox Cloud Gaming tidbit was actually only a small part of Microsoft’s big Xbox Game Pass announcements. That included its switch to Xbox Series X consoles on the backend, promising even better performance. The more ambitious revelation, however, is its commitment to bring a new first-party game to Game Pass every quarter, which would put it way ahead of the competition, presuming it is able to keep up with that schedule.