Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is getting another value-boosting feature. In September, Microsoft is combining its premium game-subscription service with its streaming Project xCloud technology. Microsoft announced the addition in a blog post from Xbox boss Phil Spencer today.
“Cloud gaming in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate means your games are no longer locked to the living room,” writes Spencer. “And just like you do with the popular movie and music streaming services, when cloud gaming launches into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can continue your game wherever you left off on any of your devices.
Spencer was careful to note that this is a feature specifically for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and not the standard Game Pass tiers. Ultimate is the $15-per-month variation of Xbox Game Pass. It includes access to the Netflix-of-games-style service for PC as well as Xbox. Ultimate additionally gives players Xbox Live Gold.
This likely means that if you have the $10-per-month standard Xbox Game Pass, you won’t have the option to get your games from the cloud. And Microsoft didn’t explain any method for upgrading that type of account. But if you’re in that situation, you could just pay $5 extra per month to get the xCloud functionality.
Microsoft’s move here is part of its aggressive effort to get players into its ecosystem. Sony does have PlayStation Now that works a lot like Game Pass with xCloud. But Xbox Game Studios releases all end up on the Microsoft subscription the day of their initial release. Sony holds back most of its biggest games.
One more thing to look out for here is Microsoft sun-setting Xbox Live Gold. That is the service that Xbox owners must pay for to get online multiplayer, and it’s starting to feel antiquated.