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Last month, Microsoft announced a big round of updates regarding the future of its gaming strategy, giving us more details on its upcoming Xbox Series X and backward compatibility. The company also gave some attention to its cross-platform Stadia competitor, xCloud (our comparison here). Microsoft is finally getting ready to launch the service and has shared that it'll come September 15 as part of the existing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which costs $14.99 a month. The Xbox developers have also shown off some game-specific touch controls, developed in cooperation with the respective studio.
The Verge reports that the service will launch in 22 countries in the beginning: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. On September 11, the currently free-to-play xCloud beta will be discontinued and replaced by the version included in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Once the service is available, you'll be able to use existing Xbox One controllers, and PlayStation's DualShock 4 is also supported. Additionally, Microsoft offers a variety of mobile input solutions.
Credit: The Verge.
If you don't want to bother with a bulky controller, you'll also be able to use touch controls for some games, like Gears 5. Microsoft collaborated with the game's developers to create a customized, context-aware touch interface that gets certain buttons out of the way when you don't need them. The company detailed as much during its Microsoft Game Stack stream.
Since the service runs on Xbox servers, you'll be able to join millions of gamers playing these games on their consoles, so it won't be as desolate as Stadia.
Microsoft promises that xCloud comes with more than 100 titles and has shared the first 36 confirmed games:
- Ark: Survival Evolved
- Bleeding Edge
- Costume Quest 2
- Crackdown 3 (campaign)
- Destiny 2
- F1 2019
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
- Gears of War 4
- Gears 5 Ultimate Edition
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Halo Wars: Definitive Edition
- Halo Wars 2
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection
- Halo: Spartan Assault
- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
- Killer Instinct Definitive Edition
- Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
- Minecraft Dungeons
- The Outer Worlds
- Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Quantum Break
- ReCore: Definitive Edition
- Ryse: Son of Rome
- Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Edition
- State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
- Sunset Overdrive
- Super Lucky’s Tale
- Tell Me Why
- The Bard’s Tale Trilogy
- Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
- Wasteland 3
- Wasteland Remastered
- Yakuza Kiwami 2
Microsoft's Xbox chief Phil Spencer confirmed to The Verge that Game Pass Ultimate won't remain the only way to access the streaming service: "Over time we will continue to expand how we introduce streaming as part of the platform, and playing games that you own that aren’t part of the subscription. For launch we’re putting it in Ultimate for no additional cost. We think it’s a good audience for us to start with, and it’s an audience that plays a lot of games."
The Verge also reported that Microsoft would upgrade its xCloud servers to Xbox Series X hardware next year, which might be when we'll see more games.