Hands-On With Microsoft’s Browser-Based Xbox Cloud Gaming Service on an iPhone

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Microsoft earlier this week made its Xbox Cloud Gaming service available on iOS devices, which means iPhone and iPad users can play Xbox games using the Safari browser.

We decided to test out Xbox Cloud Gaming to see how it works at launch, and whether it’s worth the $14.99 subscription price for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which is how you can get access to Xbox Cloud Gaming.
In a nutshell, whether it’s worth trying out depends on what you want to play. In our experience, and based on other accounts from people who have tested the service, there’s latency, sometimes bad and sometimes just sporadic. The lag doesn’t make most games unplayable, but it does affect competitive online shooters.

Latency can depend on connection, so it’s possible Xbox Cloud Gaming is fine if you have stellar internet speeds, but most reports so far suggest that it needs to be further refined for games where latency is a dealbreaker. We found we could adjust to the very slight delays for sports games and other titles, but with shooters, gameplay was hampered.

Given the latency issues, we wouldn’t recommend the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription strictly for Xbox Cloud Gaming, but if it’s something that you already have, it’s a great bonus feature. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate provides access to more than 100 games on Xbox, PCs, and mobile devices, plus same day release access to Xbox Game Studios titles.

If you want to try out Xbox Cloud Gaming, you can pay $1 to get three months of access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. After that three-month period, the subscription is priced at $14.99 per month.

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