Shortly before E3, Microsoft announced plans to expand xCloud game streaming to browsers, and today that update went live, finally unlocking the ability to stream games on iPhones, iPads, and Macs using Safari.
Microsoft’s support of xCloud game streaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate lets users play games in several web browsers, including Chrome, Edge, and Safari. That last one is bound to have the biggest impact, because unlike on iOS, Android phones and tablets already have a dedicated Xbox Game Pass app.
However, because Apple’s guidelines for the App Store require that every individual game available via a game streaming service has its own App Store listing, it’s almost impossible for Microsoft or other game streaming services like Stadia and GeForce Now to create dedicated apps for iOS/iPadOS.
But with the most recent update to xCloud in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft is able to sidestep the need for a dedicated app by streaming games using Safari, opening up its game-streaming service to Apple fans at large, on both iPhones and iPads as well as Macs.
For Microsoft, the goal is simple: to make game streaming as accessible as possible, regardless of what device or platform you’re using. So starting today, Microsoft says Xbox Cloud Gaming will be available to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers on Windows and Apple PCs, iPhones, and iPads in 22 different countries.
Also, with the addition of new servers powered by custom Xbox Series X hardware, Microsoft says xCloud game streaming is also getting a boost in performance with video quality set to 1080p at 60fps (assuming your wireless connection is fast enough). Unfortunately, there’s no word on support for streaming natively at 4K just yet, though some streaming boxes like the Nvidia Shield TV can upscale 1080p content to 4K to help deliver improved image quality.
Finally, to help make sure anyone streaming games on an iPhone or iPad has the proper accessories, Microsoft announced another expansion to its Designed for Xbox initiative with new badges for iOS gaming peripherals like mobile phone controllers such as the Backbone One and the Razer Kishi for iOS.
Despite the fact that Apple won’t open up the App Store to game streaming apps, you’ll still be able to stream some of the best titles on your phone or tablet — regardless of what device or OS you’re using.