In brief: Microsoft has finally set a launch date for xCloud, excuse me, its "cloud gaming" service. The free preview is getting cut off on September 11 with the paid program (bundled with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate) firing up on September 15 for $15 per month.
Last month, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that Project xCloud is launching sometime in September, although it won't be called that. It sounds like the company is just calling it "cloud gaming" for now, but for the sake of familiarity, I will continue to call it xCloud. While it remains ambivalent about the name, on Tuesday, Microsoft said the streaming service would officially launch on September 15.
Unfortunately for some, xCloud is first coming exclusively to Andriod devices. Microsoft started the iOS preview in February, which is four months after it launched the Android beta. Additionally, Microsoft has been struggling with Apple's App Store restrictions, and the TestFlight group of 10,000 is much smaller than the Android trial pool.
Although Microsoft had no information on how far behind the iOS version of xCloud is, it is reasonable to suspect it's at least four months delayed. Considering the beef with Apple is probably over its insistence of collecting 30 percent on in-app purchases, including subscriptions, an iOS paid version is probably much further out. We will have to see how Apple fairs in the numerous antitrust spats it is currently battling.
"It's our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices, but we have nothing further to share at this time regarding iOS," a spokesperson told The Verge.
In the meantime, Android users can sign up for xCloud via a $15 per month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Right now, customers can subscribe to a trial of Ultimate for $1 for the first month. Current users can expect their free preview to end on September 11. Users can continue with the service with only a four-day interruption (possibly less) by subscribing to Ultimate by September 15.