Xbox app update will add remote play for iPhone, doesn’t change xCloud availability on iOS

Remote play is cool, but not exactly what fans were hoping for.

Image via Microsoft

A new update for the Xbox app is going to give players the ability to play Xbox games on their iPhones and iPads, but it’ll be through remote play and not Microsoft’s xCloud streaming service. 

Remote play essentially lets players boot up their Xbox One console using their Xbox app and stream any of their installed titles directly from the console to their phone or tablet over Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. 

As long as both your mobile device and Xbox are connected to the internet, you can use the app to remotely boot up the console even when you’re away from home. From there, you’ll simply select which game you want to play and play remotely, though the performance will heavily depend on your internet connection. 

Once you’re done playing, simply turn off the Xbox through the app and it’ll shut down back at home too. 

This is a different process from the xCloud game streaming service, which doesn’t require players to have the game downloaded at all and instead runs games directly off of Microsoft’s dedicated xCloud servers. XCloud only works on Android devices with version 6.0 or newer and Bluetooth version 4.0+.

This app update won’t impact the availability of xCloud on iOS, though. Apple hasn’t changed its policies on not allowing game-streaming services like Stadia and xCloud onto the App Store without submitting each game in their libraries as separate apps. 

Microsoft shut down that option quickly after Apple made that slight change to the App Store’s policy. 

“This remains a bad experience for customers,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. “Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We’re committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is core to that mission.”

Amazon is avoiding those same guidelines for its newly revealed game-streaming service Luna by running through a web browser instead of the App Store. This workaround could also be an option for Microsoft and Google in the future if Apple decides to retain its anti-game streaming policies.