Hands-On With Microsoft's Browser-Based Xbox Cloud Gaming Service on an iPhone

Microsoft earlier this week made its Xbox Cloud Gaming service available on iOS devices, which means iPhone and iPad users can play Xbox games using the Safari browser.


We decided to test out Xbox Cloud Gaming to see how it works at launch, and whether it's worth the $14.99 subscription price for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which is how you can get access to Xbox Cloud Gaming.

In a nutshell, whether it's worth trying out depends on what you want to play. In our experience, and based on other accounts from people who have tested the service, there's latency, sometimes bad and sometimes just sporadic. The lag doesn't make most games unplayable, but it does affect competitive online shooters.

Latency can depend on connection, so it's possible Xbox Cloud Gaming is fine if you have stellar internet speeds, but most reports so far suggest that it needs to be further refined for games where latency is a dealbreaker. We found we could adjust to the very slight delays for sports games and other titles, but with shooters, gameplay was hampered.

Given the latency issues, we wouldn't recommend the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription strictly for Xbox Cloud Gaming, but if it's something that you already have, it's a great bonus feature. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate provides access to more than 100 games on Xbox, PCs, and mobile devices, plus same day release access to Xbox Game Studios titles.

If you want to try out Xbox Cloud Gaming, you can pay $1 to get three months of access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. After that three-month period, the subscription is priced at $14.99 per month.

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Top Rated Comments

willyx Avatar
39 months ago

It works impressively well on iOS and my iPad. I'm just salty there's NO way this solution works on Apple TV and I have a great use case for just that.
Apple has to "protect you" against this service as much as they can ;D
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
4jasontv Avatar
39 months ago

Stadia has no lag even over wifi.
Googles data mining actually predicts what button you were going to press and serves it up to create the appearance of no lag. /s
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ScottishDuck Avatar
39 months ago
Just a reminder that it doesn’t matter how fast your internet is, if it’s not stable and/or low latency - Signed a comms engineer
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Think|Different Avatar
39 months ago
It works impressively well on iOS and my iPad. I'm just salty there's NO way this solution works on Apple TV and I have a great use case for just that.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Krevnik Avatar
39 months ago

Hi, ordinary civilian here. Doesn’t fast Internet speed mean low latency?
Nope. Latency is the trip time of a packet (round trip being important here), while speed or bandwidth says how many packets can be sent per second. The thing is that computers can and will send multiple packets in a row and not wait for the response to send the next one. Some protocols don’t even rely on the concept of an acknowledgement packet, and use a fire-and-forget approach. UDP based protocols have to build any ACK behaviors themselves.

There are practical limits to this, but generally latency and throughput can be decoupled from each other.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pakaku Avatar
39 months ago

Apple desperately needs to release an Apple Gaming Controller.

Impressive! Makes me want to return my XBOX series X
I'd like to see them partner with a company like Microsoft or Valve to make a controller, but I wouldn't trust Apple themselves to design good videogaming hardware...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)