Project xCloud has a release date – and it'll be free with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's cloud gaming service, Project xCloud, is arriving in September, and will be included for free with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Meaning you'll be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet.

"Cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate means your games are no longer locked to the living room," Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, wrote in an Xbox Wire post. "And just like you do with the popular movie and music streaming services, when cloud gaming launches into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can continue your game wherever you left off on any of your devices."

Project xCloud has been in beta testing for some time and, while we knew the service would officially launch sometime this year, there hasn't been a firm release date until now. We also knew that the service would come to Xbox Game Pass, but the fact that it will be a free inclusion is certainly welcome news.

What is Project xCloud?

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's Project xCloud is a new game streaming service that lives in the cloud and aims to let you play big-name games on whichever device you want, whenever you want, streaming on your consoles, on your phones and on your Windows 10 PCs. 

It will do that by leveraging Microsoft’s existing data centers across the globe by loading up servers with the component parts of multiple Xbox One consoles, and use them to run the games streamed directly over the internet to the device of your choice. 

What this means for gamers is that you'll be able to play your Xbox One and Xbox Series X games, such Halo Infinite, Forza and other console and PC big hitters, on your phones or tablets. And, harnessing Xbox Game Pass, you'll be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on mobile devices too. 

Because Xbox Live can connect across all devices, you'll still have the option to play single-player or online multiplayer whichever device you're using. It's worth noting that Project xCloud does depend on a stable internet connection, but Microsoft has promised the service can run at 7-10mb/s.

However, Spencer did stipulate that Project xCloud will only be free with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in "supported countries". Those haven't been specified but we can assume it's the countries that the service has previously rolled out to which includes the US, Canada, UK, Korea, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden – with more countries reportedly getting the service at a later date, following delays caused by Covid-19.

Project xCloud's inclusion with Xbox Game Pass could be a real game-changer for Microsoft going into the next-generation, with Xbox Series X offering a cloud gaming service that the PS5 appears to be lacking and a more tantalizing alternative to Google Stadia. Whether that will materialize into more subscriptions or sales however, remains to be seen. 

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.