Microsoft makes rapid progress bringing Xbox gaming to iPhone and iPad

Internal testing has begun of iPhones playing console-quality titles with Xbox Game Pass. Androids can do so already.
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft has already begun internal testing of a cloud-based version of Xbox Game Pass playable on an iPhone or iPad. Public beta test is scheduled to begin in the spring.

Apple’s restrictive rules on cloud-gaming services have so far kept all the available options out of the App Store. Microsoft’s solution was to create a web app for its service. That means it runs on a web browser, not as a stand-alone application.

Xbox cloud gaming heads for iPhone and iPad

The development team recently gave access to “a large group of users inside of Microsoft,” according to Thurrott. That’s a sign of confidence in the cloud gaming service, but there are still problems. “For those who are currently testing the service inside of Microsoft, they report that the experience is a bit buggy at the moment but that’s to be expected,” reports Thurrott. “Also, the streaming service only works with Chrome and Edge at this time.”

The next step is a public beta. Microsoft Gaming VP Jerret West said in December, “In Spring 2021, we will take the next step in our journey to reach more players around the world by making cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate available on Windows PCs through the Xbox app and browser, and iOS devices through mobile web browser.”

Not only Microsoft

Other cloud-gaming services created their own web apps to sidestep the App Store. Amazon Luna is in public beta testing. The same goes for Google Stadia.

Both services are playable on an iPad or iPhone.