Xbox Cloud Gaming is now available on PC and iOS devices for all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members, and it's even running on improved hardware.
Microsoft has been working on bringing cloud gaming to more and more platforms, and it started invite-only testing of PC and iOS streaming for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers back in April. You still need to be an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber to use Xbox Cloud Gaming, but now you don't need a special invite to play - if you're on PC or iOS, just point your browser (Edge, Chrome, and iOS Safari are all currently supported) to xbox.com/play and get started. If you're on Android, you'll still need to play through the dedicated Xbox Game Pass app.
In addition to opening up new platforms with a massive number of potential players, Xbox Cloud Gaming has seen another big upgrade as it's now "powered by custom Xbox Series X hardware". The streaming service previously targeted an Xbox One-like experience, so this means both improved visuals and faster load times; the service now streams at 1080p and up to 60 frames per second, though your own particular network conditions will play a big role in what kind of experience you get.
I just booted up Yakuza 5 Remastered on my browser to give it a quick try - I'm currently playing through the same game on my PS4 so it seemed like a good test case - and I was impressed by how everything just clicked. Even a little warning it gave me about not having a controller connected was solved by simply pressing a button on my Xbox gamepad, which I keep synced with my PC via wireless dongle. It's worth pointing out that I do use Edge, so I'm not sure if the process is still as smooth if you venture outside of Microsoft's little ecosystem.
The game image itself was a bit more blurry than I was used to, and there was a very slight control input delay, but if I wasn't looking at it almost literally side-by-side with a version running on local hardware I doubt it would bother me much. Not to get too starry eyed here, but if Microsoft really stays committed to building out Game Pass this way, it could really be a paradigm shift in how we think about where games are played and by whom. Looking back at all the new Game Pass announcements in the Xbox E3 2021 showcase, that sure seems like the plan.
GR's Josh West argues that both Game Pass and the Bethesda acquisition have made Xbox Series X impossibly attractive.