This holiday season, Xbox Cloud Gaming is coming to consoles. Wait, what? What reasons would anyone have to streaming Xbox games onto actual Xbox devices? Plenty, actually.
While Xbox Cloud Gaming is already live on mobile devices and web browsers as well as on PC via the Xbox app, the announcement it would be coming to consoles might seem puzzling. The whole raison d’etre after all for the service, which comes bundled into Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions, is the ability to let smart devices of any size or power play modern console games.
Being able to stream Xbox games onto the very devices they’re designed for might seem unnecessary, but it’s actually a rather brilliant addition to the wealth of choices and options available to Xbox users right now. When it comes to devices from the previous generation and the current gen of Series hardware, letting players stream from the cloud is a godsend for a couple use case scenarios.
First of all, it’s a boon for owners of Xbox One and Xbox One X consoles who either can’t find an Xbox Series X|S or can’t currently afford to purchase if they found one. Xbox Cloud Gaming on older consoles means that given a good enough Internet connection, no Xbox owner gets left behind from the wealth of games coming to the platform.
In other words, rather than stress out over the means to find or the money to purchase an Xbox Series X|S, players can enjoy current and future Xbox releases. This lets them decide on their own terms, when it is the right time to buy a new Xbox without feeling like they’re being left behind. And after the recent upgrade to the servers, Xbox Cloud Gaming guarantees a moderately crisp 1080, 60fps experience, which is actually better than what the original Xbox One outputs.
Second, it’s a boon for owners of Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S owners who are currently struggling with hard drive space. The Xbox Series S currently has 364GB of usable hard drive space for games, and that’s fine for a bunch of indies, but games like Gears 5, Destiny 2 or Forza Horizon 4 chow up that space pretty quickly. With Xbox Cloud Gaming, you can play games with no install.
What that means is that Xbox Series users can reserve their SSD for the games they already know are their favorites, Meanwhile the cloud service can be used to try out games before committing their limited SSD capacity. That means Series users have the power of the entire Game Pass library at the push of a button, and can decide to install later to unlock these games at their best quality.
This is all part of Microsoft’s overall strategy of empowering players with flexibility and the ability to enjoy their whole catalog on their own terms and on just about anything that has a screen. So while Xbox Cloud Gaming is a great way to take games on the go on your phone or tablet, or pipe them onto your PC when you’re away from your console, it will also be a great way of expanding your overall console experience.
And that’s why I can’t wait for Xbox Cloud Gaming to arrive on my Xbox Series X. Even if I can pretty much play any game I want already, it’d be nice to try out Forza Horizon 5 when it launches without commiting to what will likely be a hefty install and I look forward to connecting with friends who will be playing from their janky old PCs or previous generation Xboxes.
With a single announcement, Microsoft has signaled that Xbox Cloud Gaming isn’t just for smartphone gamers on the go or for dilettantes on their business and work PCs, but for hardcore Xbox owners as well. Xbox Cloud Gaming is for everybody.