14 Jun 2021 2:14 PM +00:00

Xbox Game Streaming on iPhone and iPad Is Very, Very Close

Months after Cupertino denied Microsoft from launching its Xbox Game Streaming platform on the Apple App Store earlier in the year, the two seem to have ironed out a way to get the ball rolling. According to an update posted to the official Xbox blog, XCloud iPhone and iPad game streaming is coming to iOS/iPadOS "in the next few weeks". It's just probably not happening in the way you'd expect.

Why Wouldn't Apple Allow XCloud iPhone and iPad Support?

Microsoft is betting big on Game Pass, and allowing its growing number of subscribers to access its revolving library of games anywhere and on any device is a big part of its plan. But with the service already available to Android users through a simple app, the pressure for Apple to lower its guard has been building.

Apple is currently fighting a battle in court over how it runs the App Store that unifies its products. Although the case stemmed from its now-revised cut of individual app profits to one that's highlighting double standards and anti-competitive practices, it would appear that Microsoft has managed to come to an arrangement with the trillion-dollar company. It's not quite as natural a fit as a simple app on your iPhone or iPad would be, but it should work.

Certain Game Pass Ultimate subscribers have had access to Xbox Cloud Gaming on Apple products since April. The company just appears happy enough with the results to roll out support on a grander scale very soon.

How Will Xbox Game Streaming on iOS/iPadOS Work?

A graphic showing how Xbox Game Streaming will allow users to play Xbox games through Game Pass on any device by streaming titles from the cloud.
click to enlarge

By leveraging Apple's default web browser Safari, Edge and Chrome, Game Pass subscribers will be able to stream over 100 selected Xbox games to their mobile devices, with that number hopefully growing to around 300 over time.

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With Apple recently adding support for Xbox and PlayStation controllers over Bluetooth, the stage is set for a large percentage of the world's smart devices to stream Xbox games from the cloud. Australia, Brazel, Mexico and Japan will also gain access to the service later in the year.

While we expected to get a solid release date at Microsoft's E3 conference, the show came and went without a word.

All we can do is trust the words of the Xbox team and believe that XCloud iPhone and iPad support will release in the coming weeks. After that, it's back to hoping Apple will eventually allow the native app or a more intuitive experience.