How to get Microsoft’s xCloud and stream Xbox games on your phone right now

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Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming abilities will be officially integrated into the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription starting on September 15th, with support for more than 100 games. However, you don’t need to wait to try out the cloud gaming service, and it’s possible that you might already have all the necessary components to make it happen.

Here’s what you’ll need to try it yourself:

  • A subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the Microsoft service that costs $14.99 per month and also provides a catalog of Game Pass games on both console and PC, as well as Xbox Live Gold for online multiplayer, and discounts on games.
  • An Android phone or tablet that’s running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later, and has Bluetooth 4.0 or greater. You’ll need such a device to download the app from the Google Play Store. For now, xCloud won’t be coming to iPhones.
  • A compatible controller to connect to your phone or tablet over Bluetooth, or USB. In regards to connecting via USB, you should be able to use a micro USB (which the DualShock 4 and Xbox wireless controllers use) to USB-A cable with an OTG adapter (micro USB, USB-C) to fit your phone’s charge port. The Bluetooth-ready Xbox One wireless controller will work just fine if you add a phone clip, but note that the older one with glossy plastic near the shoulder buttons doesn’t support Bluetooth.

(You can also try one of the fleet of xCloud-ready controllers that were recently announced, including PowerA’s MOGA XP5-X, the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro for Xbox, or Razer’s Kishi for Xbox, each of which include a clip or other spot for your phone. The Xbox Elite Gen 2 controller will also work, as will the forthcoming Xbox Series X controllers that have found their way into the hands of some lucky buyers. Microsoft is working to adapt on-screen touch controls for some of its games when a controller isn’t available, though that feature won’t be added until xCloud launches in September.)

  • Lastly, a fast Wi-Fi or cellular connection. Microsoft suggests connecting to your router via a 5GHz Wi-Fi signal, but whether you’re at home or connected to an LTE or 5G tower, you should have download speeds of at least 10Mbps for a good experience. You can check your download speeds at speedtest.net.

Now that you have everything necessary to try out xCloud, here’s how to do it in the Xbox Game Pass app.

Download the beta version of the Xbox Game Pass app

Until xCloud officially comes to Game Pass Ultimate on September 15th, Microsoft is limiting the cloud streaming service to the beta version of the Game Pass app on Android. So to try it out before then, you’ll need to download that beta. If you search “Game Pass” on your phone in the Play Store, you should find two versions of the app. The beta version has an icon with a white background (download that one), while the standard version has a green background.

Make sure to download the app with the white background to get xCloud access.

Connect a controller via Bluetooth or USB

As mentioned before, there are several compatible controllers that you can connect to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. If you’re using Microsoft’s official Xbox controller with Bluetooth support, here’s how to connect it. You’ll also be able to use Sony’s DualShock 4 once xCloud launches. Alternatively, you can connect a controller via USB. If you don’t have one connected before launching a game, the app will warn you to do so.

Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge

It’s also a good idea to get a clip to mount your phone to your controller for easy viewing. PowerA offers a $14.99 model that connects to Microsoft’s Xbox wireless controller with Bluetooth support. Some controllers also include one with purchase.

Boot the app and launch a game

Once you’re signed in with your Microsoft account, you’ll should tap or select the “cloud” option beneath the top section of the app where it shows a highlighted game.

xCloud

After that’s selected, every game you see below should be eligible for you to play right from your phone or tablet. Go ahead and click one, then hit “Play” on the next screen as seen below. It’ll take a few moments for your device to boot into the game, but once it does, your save data will automatically sync with your progress on your Xbox One and PC, if you’ve already started the game there.

Microsoft xCloud

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