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Microsoft Xbox Cloud Gaming Launches Today With More than 150 Games

By Danny Vena – Updated Sep 15, 2020 at 1:16PM

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The old xCloud is being rolled into the new cloud-based game streaming service.

Microsoft (MSFT -0.04%) announced on Monday that its cloud gaming service will be available on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (previously called xCloud). The service will launch today with more than 150 games and will be available on the cloud in 22 different countries. The titles will also initially be offered on Alphabet's (GOOGL -1.02%) (GOOG -1.24%) Android phones and tablets. 

Players will have access to a curated selection of popular games available from the Xbox Game Pass library, including such favorites as Tell Me Why, Grounded, Forza Horizon 4, and Battletoads. Membership will also include popular partner titles like Spiritfarer, Untitled Goose Game, and Destiny 2.

Teenage couple sitting on a couch playing a video game.

Image source: Getty Images.

With the games stored in the cloud, users can begin playing on a console and later switch and resume play on a mobile device. The move will also attract players who don't own an Xbox console, since it only requires an Android mobile device and a supported controller.

New members will be able to join Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for a discounted price of $1 for the first month, before reverting to the regular monthly subscription price of $14.99.

Conspicuously missing from the announcement is the ability to play on Apple's (AAPL -1.96%) iPhones and iPads. The company had previously disallowed streamed gaming services from its App Store, but late last week, Apple updated its guidelines, explicitly permitting both Microsoft's cloud gaming service and Google Stadia.

Apple is still requiring that each game be downloaded directly from the App Store, as well as each game being an individual app. Microsoft has objected to this rule, saying it results in "a bad experience for customers." The revised rules also stipulate that Apple will take a 30% cut of all in-app purchases, a requirement that resulted in a bitter legal dispute with Fortnite publisher Epic Games. 

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Apple, and Microsoft. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Apple, and Microsoft and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft and short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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