Something to look forward to: Cloud gaming probably won't replace traditional console and PC platforms anytime soon, but it's certainly picking up steam. Services like Nvidia's GeForce Now, Google's Stadia, and Microsoft's xCloud are leading the charge in this arena, but only the two former services are widely available across mobile and desktop devices. Fortunately, that's changing soon: Microsoft has confirmed that xCloud's beta is coming to iOS and PC devices in Spring 2021.
Right now, the xCloud beta is only available to Android tablet or smartphone owners, so this upcoming service expansion will be a pretty big deal. It means those with low-powered laptops and iOS devices will still be able to experience all that Xbox has to offer; from the comfort of their couch, bed, hotel room, or anywhere else they can get a decent internet connection.
There is a catch, though. Just like with the current beta, xCloud's new wave of users will need to be subscribed to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which isn't the most affordable service in the world at $15/month. To be clear, we aren't saying it's a bad value -- on the contrary.
Game Pass is arguably one of the best subscription services out there right now, across all forms of media: you get all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold, access to EA Play, and more than 100 great cross-platform games and first-party exclusives. Cloud gaming is only icing on the cake.
When xCloud rolls out for iOS and Windows PCs, it won't be too difficult to access. PC users can use either the Xbox app or their browser of choice, and iOS fans will log in through their browser (no dedicated app, at least to start).
So, how about regional availability? Right now, the xCloud beta is available in 22 countries spread across Europe and North America (as well as South Korea). However, in Spring 2021, it will expand to Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico, covering millions of additional users.
We don't have a specific month or day for xCloud's beta expansion, but we will undoubtedly hear more after 2020 comes to a close.