Xbox Cloud Gaming has been in beta for a while now, but has only been available on mobile devices, PC and for Xbox Insiders on console. The feature still remains in beta, but those with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription can now use the feature.
Microsoft has said the launch will roll out to 25 regions, initially rolling out to a "subset of Xbox gamers" before scaling to all players in supported markets over the coming weeks – with Brazil coming at a later date.
There are a number of benefits to using Xbox Cloud Gaming, the main one being that it means those on Xbox One – who don't own an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S - can now play some next-gen games like Recompile, The Medium, and The Riftbreaker. While the selection isn't huge now, Microsoft has said that it will add more Xbox Series X/S games in the future, with Microsoft Flight Simulator becoming available in early 2022.
All Xbox console owners (with the Ultimate subscription) will also benefit from being able to play Xbox Game Pass games before they're installed on their consoles. So, for example, if you decided you want to jump into Halo Infinite multiplayer for the first time with friends, you can play Halo Infinite via Cloud Gaming straight away, without having to wait until it installs on your Xbox. Cloud Gaming will even save space on your hard drive for games you plan to keep playing.
How do I access Xbox Cloud Gaming?
Xbox Cloud Gaming is available to use on console right now but, as we've said before, you need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to access it. If you already have the subscription, then simply look for the Cloud icon on your dashboard.
If you don't have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate then don't fret, as we're coming up to the perfect time to pick up a subscription at a discount. Black Friday 2021 will likely see retailers offering Xbox Game Pass deals that could allow you to pick up a subscription for less.
What's more, a sweet entry deal from Microsoft means you can pick up your first month for just a $1 / £1 trial price before the big day. But, while that seems mighty tempting, we suggest holding out for Black Friday because, if Microsoft decides to repeat a previous offer, we expect to see this extended to three months as part of their Black Friday deals.
Analysis: gaming for everyone
Xbox Cloud Gaming's launch on consoles is a welcome sight, and not just because we no longer have to wait on lengthy downloads to jump into games. Allowing Xbox One owners to play Xbox Series X/S games means that those who perhaps can't afford, or can't get their hands on, a new Xbox can still experience next-gen.
Sure, the experience may be limited by Xbox Cloud Gaming's 1080p/60fps support, but it narrows the divide between those on Xbox One and those on Xbox Series X/S – and further cements the value of an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
We're not saying an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is cheap, at $14.99 / £10.99 per month, $44.99 / £32.99 for three months, or £139.99 / $194.59 annually, it's still a fair chunk of money. However, in comparison to the $499 / £449 / AU$749 price tag of the Xbox Series X – not to mention the price of each game you plan to buy – it's a much more affordable proposition.
What's more, for that subscription price tag, you get access to over 100 games in the Xbox Game Pass library on both PC and console (though some games are better than others), access to first-party Xbox games which land in the library on day one, access to Xbox Cloud Gaming, exclusive member discounts and deals and Xbox Live Gold included, which grants access to online multiplayer and offers a handful of free games to download and keep each month.
With Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft seems to be staying true to its "we believe that gaming is for everyone" mantra, reducing the cost barrier that prevents so many from keeping up with the latest games.
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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.