Microsoft might've just delivered the killing blow to Google Stadia by bundling its new game streaming service with an existing sub at no extra cost.
Today Microsoft confirmed that its new Project xCloud game streaming platform will be included free in its all-in-one Game Pass Ultimate subscription bundle. Starting in September, the $14.99 a month Game Pass Ultimate will now include Game Pass, Xbox LIVE, and Project xCloud in a neat and affordable package.
"Finally, today we're announcing that this September, in supported countries, we're bringing Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud together at no additional cost for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. With cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet.
"And because Xbox Live connects across devices, you can play along with the nearly 100 million Xbox Live players around the world. So when Halo Infinite launches, you and your friends can play together and immerse yourselves in the Halo universe as Master Chief-anywhere you go and across devices," Microsoft's Phil Spencer said.
The company has previously confirmed xCloud would be merged with Game Pass and telegraphed xCloud would be an extension of existing services. We predicted xCloud would prompt a new higher-priced service tier bundle, but thankfully that's not the case.
With Project xCloud, Game Pass is essentially turning into PlayStation Now. But it gets better. You can also stream games you already own through Project xCloud. You can even use your Xbox One/Series X console as a remote streaming server to access your games on mobile devices, laptops, or tablets.
Project xCloud represents the industry's best option for game streaming insofar as content and access: Not only does it stream all Game Pass games, but users can access and stream games they already own on Xbox or the Windows Store on PC. There's no need to re-buy games like with Stadia.
Joining Game Pass just compounds the value. We've already documented how transformative Game Pass has been for the industry, but ultimately the service has tremendously boosted game sales, exposure, and radically changed consumption habits with an all-you-can-play model that includes major first-party Xbox games.
This move clearly demonstrates Microsoft's fundamental ecosystem-driven and service-connected ethos for the Xbox brand. The idea here is to provide as much cross-platform value as possible across its services and subscriptions. All of the services are inter-connected with the ecosystem's features, whether it be cross-play, multiplayer, cross-buy or cloud saves to create the ultimate sticky web for consumers.
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