From September 15 Xbox Game Pass Ultimate users will be able to play Xbox games via their Android smartphones or tablets via Project xCloud. Unless of course you reside in India. According to Kareem Choudhry, Corporate Vice President for Project xCloud at Microsoft, it appears that India won’t be getting xCloud in time with the rest of the world. For the uninitiated, Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s game subscription service, granting Xbox One and Windows 10 PC users access to over a 100 games.
“Cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will be available on Android devices in 22 markets at launch, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States,” reads Choudhry’s post on the official Xbox site.
This should come as no surprise as there are a host of challenges to see this through such as data caps, consistent Internet connectivity, rising Internet costs, and seamless payment options. That’s before considering that Sony may launch PS Now or Google’s own plans for a Stadia launch in India before Microsoft decides to make Project xCloud available here.
While the rest of the world ramps up for the Xbox Series X and its deluge of games via Xbox Game Pass or otherwise, Microsoft India has been quiet about its plans for the country.
Multiple retailers speaking to The Mako Reactor have stated that while Sony has been actively courting them for the PS5 pre-orders, Microsoft has been silent. In fact they claim Microsoft has gone as far as to limit the number of retailers it has in each part of the country pointing us to a severely reduced listing of stores. Mumbai, which had 10 stores listed as selling Xbox One consoles, accessories, and game earlier is now just down to two, while other regions have seen similar cutbacks as well.
Is Project xCloud exclusive to Reliance Jio?
Several sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans speaking to us on the condition of anonymity have confirmed that there were no plans to make Project xCloud exclusive to Jio to begin with. They claim that the Redmond-based company firmly believes that if it wants Project xCloud to be a mass product for those without access to an Xbox One, Xbox Series X, or gaming PC, it would need to be on every possible telco.
This would suggest that Project xCloud won’t be exclusive to Reliance Jio in the way an app like JioTV is, which requires a Jio phone number to use (barring some unsanctioned, possibly illegal workarounds).
Assuming Microsoft follows the same strategy for Xbox Series X, it may not be exclusive to Amazon India, a stark contrast to its Xbox One launch which saw it limited to Amazon India for the first year, a move that proved fatal for the company’s efforts in the country.
While Microsoft does not divulge the country-wide details for Xbox Game Pass usage, a recent infographic stated Asia’s increase in Xbox Game Pass multiplayer gaming was 49 percent. The company confirmed to The Mako Reactor that this statistic includes India. Unlike other companies with interests in gaming, Microsoft considers India as a part of its Asia market strategy versus Sony and Ubisoft that considers the country a part of its Middle East and Africa efforts.
Project xCloud iOS release date
While Project xCloud debuts as a part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for those with an Android device, an iOS release date for Project xCloud is still on the cards. Microsoft has been testing an iOS client for Project xCloud internally and through a limited public preview since February of this year. Hopefully it’s able to work through Apple’s restrictions to make its launch for iPhones and iPads a reality.