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Microsoft is now testing xCloud game streaming in a browser ahead of iPhone and iPad launch

Xcloud Ipad
Xcloud Ipad (Image credit: Dan Thorp-Lancaster/iMore)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is reportedly testing xCloud game streaming in a web browser internally.
  • Using a browser is the only way xCloud will come to iPhone and iPad.

Microsoft's xCloud game streaming service is now closer than ever to an iPhone and iPad launch with the company now testing browser-based gaming according to a new report.

According to sources speaking with The Verge, Microsoft is now testing the browser-based gaming internally ahead of a public preview.

Apple has previously put the kibosh on xCloud coming to the App Store with Microsoft's only solution to ditch it entirely and instead make games playable via Safari – thus bypassing App Store restrictions.

There's good news on that front as well. According to today's report, the web-based version of xCloud functions the same as the app-based version. There's no watered-down experience here.

Much like how xCloud currently works on Android tablets and phones, the web version includes a simple launcher with recommendations for games, the ability to resume recently played titles, and access to all the cloud games available through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Once you launch a game it will run fullscreen, and you'll need a controller to play Xbox games streamed through the browser.

Nobody quite knows when we can expect xCloud to be made available to iPhone and iPad users, but it's clear that Microsoft means business in terms of making it happen. We're told that a public preview of xCloud via the web is penciled in for a spring timeframe, however.

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Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.