Xbox Cloud Gaming will finally be available in Australia after a long, long beta period. Launching tomorrow, Xbox Cloud Gaming allows Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers in Australia (and Brazil, Japan and Mexico) to stream over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles.
Microsoft is harnessing the power of Azure to deliver high-fidelity gaming, via the cloud, to Aussies across Android, iOS and Windows PCs. By using Xbox Cloud Gaming, players are able to seamlessly continue their games even when they’re not where their Xbox console is located.
The addition of Australia, Brazil, Japan and Mexico brings the total number of Xbox Cloud Gaming countries to 26, across five continents.
Xbox Cloud Gaming Australia
The launch of Xbox Cloud Gaming in Australia will allow players to use the iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and laptops/PCs to stream games that are running on custom Xbox Series X consoles. By using the custom Xbox Series X hardware, Microsoft is promising faster load times, improved frame rates and a better gameplay experience. What’s more, to access Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft suggests players will only need to be able to access 10 megabits per second down. This internet speed puts Xbox Cloud Gaming within the “same operational envelope” as video streaming.
Ahead of the launch of the service, we were able to attend a briefing with Kareem Choudhry, Corporate Vice President, Cloud Gaming and Catherine Gluckstein, Vice President & Head of Product & Strategy, Xbox Cloud Gaming who said that Xbox Cloud Gaming is about bringing as many possible people into the Xbox ecosystem so it was important not to have heavy requirements.
Choudhry explained that Xbox’s mission it to put players at the centre. “Our vision is to enable people to play the games they want with the people they want, anywhere they want,” he said. Gluckstein explained that there are more than 3 billion gamers across the planet and that Xbox is working on ways to innovate and reach more of them. “In terms of Cloud Gaming, we view it as really additive to the gamers who currently own a console,” she explained. “It gives them a way to play when perhaps their TV screens are busy or equally, with Game Pass to jump in and try titles before deciding to install it.”
However, both Choudhry and Gluckstein are eager to state that Xbox Cloud Gaming is also for those gamers who’ve never owned an Xbox. “Through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, they’re now able to access our games play them on any devices,” Gluckstein added.
Microsoft is fully aware of the existing infrastructure issues in Australia, particularly our woeful internet speeds, and has worked diligently throughout the beta period to ensure Xbox Cloud Gaming is launching without being broken.
Choudhry told us, “We know all about the concerns of the internet in Australia, which is why we did such extensive testing during review and why we’re very clear that we think cloud gaming is a journey and we are in some of the earliest days of that journey.
“I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that the customer sentiment during the preview was incredibly positive and we say great engagement.”
Because Xbox Cloud Gaming allows gamers to play across such a wide variety of devices, Microsoft has worked hard to ensure that as many input devices as possible will be supported. Some of the games available through Xbox Cloud Gaming have also been optimised to support touch controls through Cloud Aware Technology. Minecraft Dungeons, Psychonauts 2 and Hades will both support touch controls at the launch of Xbox Cloud Gaming with more touch capable titles promised to be added in future.
While there are a huge number of devices compatible with Xbox Cloud Gaming, Gluckstein told us that neither Apple TV nor Android TV devices are supported. Enterprising gamers may be able to sideload Xbox Cloud Gaming onto their Android TV, but Apple TV is another story.
Microsoft has partnered with Telstra for Xbox Cloud Gaming with the telco being named the “exclusive Australian telco partner for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.” Telstra customers who are new to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate are able to secure their first month of the service free while Telstra Xbox All Access customers will also gain access to Xbox Cloud Gaming tomorrow.
Telstra believes 5G is “the perfect match for Xbox Cloud Gaming as it delivers the low latency, high capacity and fast speeds needed for a superior gaming experience outside of the home.” Telstra 5G has 75% coverage across the Australian population and this includes more than 200 cities in regional areas where Telstra 5G is the only 5G on offer.
Nathan Gumley, Head of Gaming at Telstra said, “We think our customers are going to love using Xbox Cloud Gaming on our low latency, high-capacity 5G – especially when playing co-op and multiplayer titles. We’ve worked closely with Microsoft to optimise our networks to make sure Telstra gamers have a great Xbox gaming experience – whether they’re playing at home or using their mobile device outside.”
However you choose to game with Xbox, it’s evident that now is a better time than ever to be a gamer and have access to an enormous range of ways to play games across the Xbox ecosystem.
Xbox Cloud Gaming launches in Australia on October 1, 2021, and will be available on compatible Android and iOS devices and Windows PCs.