Microsoft opens a limited preview of Project xCloud game streaming on iOS

Cal Jeffrey

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Microsoft launched a limited preview of its Project xCloud gaming-streaming service on iOS. The app is available for those registered with the TestFlight program. Microsoft will be inviting 10,000 testers to try xCloud on iPhone or iPad. Those missing the first batch of previews may be invited later, as Microsoft will be swapping users in and out during the testing period.

The app does have some limitations, however.

“To comply with App Store policies, the preview experience on iOS may look and feel different for those who have been testing on Android,” said Microsoft’s Director of Programming Larry Hryb, referring to a list of changes to the app.

Unlike the Android version of xCloud, the iOS app will not have the ability to stream games from an Xbox console. It will be an xCloud-only platform, at least for now. Additionally, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be the only title available for the time being. Apple, for some reason, is disallowing anything else to run on its hardware.

It is not unusual for apps to be canned due to Apple’s iOS restrictions. The ill-fated OnLive game-streaming app was slated for an iPhone release, but never got approval from Cupertino. It was speculated at the time that it was due to a disagreement over running in-app purchases through Apple’s app store.

Users interested in being in the iOS xCloud preview need to jump through a few hoops to be selected. First, they must have an iPhone or iPad running iOS 13.0 or later with Bluetooth 4.0. They will also need a Microsoft account linked to their gamer tag.

Microsoft says users need a Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One wireless controller. PlayStation 4 controllers are also now compatible with iOS, but it is unclear if it will work with xCloud or if Redmond is just trying to push Xbox controller sales. Give it a try and let us know.

Users not already registered for the Android version of the xCloud preview can sign up through its web form. Those already using xCloud, need to update their registration to indicate that they want in the iOS pool. Microsoft says that this does not void their Android preview, and they can play on either device.

After completing the registration or the device update, users will be sent invites via email on a first-come-first-served basis until all 10,000 slots are filled. Microsoft did not indicate how long the first round of testing would be.

“We’ll distribute invitations to participate on a first-come, first-served basis,” said Hryb. “For testing purposes, we may need to cycle through registrants in order to best utilize the available testing audience. If you miss out on the initial allocation, you might receive an invitation to participate later in the preview!”

With only one game to play, it hardly seems worth the effort, but hopefully, Apple will loosen its restrictions and allow more titles on the platform sometime down the road.

Masthead credit: Wccftech

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psycros

Posts: 3,187   +3,373
Well, naturally Apple isn't going to cooperate fully - they've got Apple Arcade now. I have no doubt that long-term they intend to bring more than casual games to their ecosystem. The biggest problem with Macs other than price is the lack of games..*capability* isn't really a problem now since macOS supports recent Radeon cards. Streaming could help mitigate both of those issues since even the cheapest Mac would be able to run any game the local hardware could render. Its not in Apple's interest to give Microsoft a significant foot in the door.
 

Cal Jeffrey

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Staff member
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Well, naturally Apple isn't going to cooperate fully - they've got Apple Arcade now. I have no doubt that long-term they intend to bring more than casual games to their ecosystem. The biggest problem with Macs other than price is the lack of games..*capability* isn't really a problem now since macOS supports recent Radeon cards. Streaming could help mitigate both of those issues since even the cheapest Mac would be able to run any game the local hardware could render. Its not in Apple's interest to give Microsoft a significant foot in the door.
I agree mostly. I have had a sub to Apple Arcade since launch (I want to do a "Best of" once there is enough best ofs) . While there are some decent titles, most are severely lacking and short. So far the best games I have played on AA are Oceanhorn 2, What the Golf, Cat Quest II, and Shinsekai: Into the Depths(this one is my favorite). Mosaic, Spaceland, and Assemble with Care are good to but somewhat lacking in content. For example, my daughter (12) finished AWC it in a few hours. The story is pretty cool, but it is super short and gameplay is a bit simplistic.There are some other games that are enjoyable for a while, but none have held my attention like the first four I mentioned.

As for gaming on Macs... That has always been Apple's shortcoming, but it is getting better. I played The Witcher 2 on my 2007 iMac with no issues. Granted I could not play on max settings, but even set to mid-range the game played smooth and looked good. It's the library of games that needs to be increased, but again that's getting better. I'm seeing more and more Mac compatible games in Steam. Ten years ago you would be lucky to find a couple indy titles for Mac on Steam.

While I would not buy a Mac as a gaming rig it is nice to be able to fire up a game now and then on the one I use for work.