Microsoft's next big step into its Game Pass-oriented, multiplatform business plan is coming in September. Next month, on September 15, Project xCloud streaming will come to Android for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers in North America and several other regions.
While this launch for Game Pass will mark the occasion of xCloud leaving its limited preview period, which started last October, it'll still be in beta. Over 100 games in the Game Pass catalogue will be available to play, but Microsoft is only launching "in 22 markets to ensure stability" before expanding xCloud further.
To accompany the launch, Microsoft is adding a handful of third-party Android peripherals to its "Designed for Xbox" collection, including Xbox-branded versions of the Razer Kishi and the SN30 Pro from 8BitDo. With or without attachment brackets, Bluetooth Xbox One controllers and even DualShock 4s will work with xCloud on Android.
As for when Game Pass Ultimate Subscribers can expect to launch xCloud from other devices, the timing's still unclear. Earlier this year, Microsoft launched a very limited preview program for xCloud on iOS, featuring just one game (Halo: The Master Chief Collection). For now, compatible Android tablets and phones are the only devices confirmed for xCloud streaming at launch, though given that Microsoft promises more news at tomorrow's Samsung Galaxy event, that compatibility list could grow soon.
Folks who've been using xCloud in preview over the past year still have some time to enjoy it before the test period officially ends. In a new FAQ, Microsoft confirms it will shut off access to the preview on September 1. Any save data for titles will carry over for preview participants, but Microsoft also notes that "not all games from preview will be available" with the official Game Pass Ultimate launch.
Game Pass and streaming are arguably equal to or more important than the Xbox Series X in terms of how Microsoft's strategy for the coming years is shaping up. In June, The Verge reported that Microsoft plans to upgrade its xCloud servers to Series X hardware in 2021. Back in April, Microsoft celebrated reaching 10 million Game Pass subscribers.