Microsoft has started testing a new option for its xCloud game streaming system that works in the world’s most popular web browser – Google Chrome. Previously, the service was only available in dedicated apps for Android and Windows 10. However, with the latest beta test, Microsoft is giving users the ability to stream some of the biggest Xbox games right from their browser.
For those with a Chromebook who don’t usually have the same grunt as dedicated gaming laptops and can’t run blockbuster games natively, it means you can finally play some of the greatest titles available. And even if you have a more powerful laptop at home, you might not want to sacrifice valuable hard drive space to install a graphics-intensive game like Fallout 76 or Sea Of Thieves.
Microsoft is only testing this browser-based version of xCloud internally at this time, but sources speaking to tech blog The Verge suggest that a public preview is planned very soon.
For those who didn’t know, xCloud lets you stream console-quality games like Gears 5, Halo 5: Guardians, Killer Instinct, and Sea of Thieves on hardware that these titles can’t normally handle. That’s because Microsoft handles all the problems in its huge data centers – all your computer has to do is stream the result. Devices that can stream an episode of Bridgerton on Netflix should therefore also be able to handle a stream of some of the biggest Xbox One games. That means Chromebooks, older laptops, and low-performance desktops are no longer an obstacle to testing the latest games.
Once you’ve selected a game, it will launch and run in full screen mode. You need a controller (wired or bluetooth connected) to play Xbox games that are streamed in your browser.
If you’re not after a shiny new Xbox Series X or want to upgrade your laptop, this subscription service might be the solution. Microsoft isn’t the only company that has seen the appeal of streaming games instead of installing them on a hard drive. Google Stadia and Sony PS4 Remote Play offer similar solutions for gamers.
XCloud access is included with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which costs £ 10.99 a month (the first month will only cost you £ 1 if you sign up now. For that you can play over 100 games on your PC, your console and your Android devices (accessed through your Google Chrome web browser, of course, once Microsoft has tested the technology). According to Microsoft, “new games are constantly being added” to the on-demand library.
In addition, first-party games will be made available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers on the same day they are released in high street stores. There are also exclusive in-game extras and content, as well as member discounts and offers. You also get access to Xbox Gold so you can play against friends online too.
Here are some of the titles currently available for streaming: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Nobody’s Heaven, NieR: Automaten, Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Edition, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Dead by Daylight, Absolver, A Plague Tale: Innocence, Minecraft Dungeons, Middle Earth: Shadow of war, and ReCore: Definitive Edition.