I know, as an Aussie, gaming streaming services seem unreachable considering our location. However, Xbox has worked hard to make that idea no longer valid, as they are very proud to release their streaming service – Xbox Cloud Gaming in Australia from tomorrow, Friday the 1st of October 2021! The service, which is already available across 22 countries has been in Beta testing in Australia since late last year, will let Aussies stream hundreds of titles. We were lucky enough to attend an online pre-brief earlier this week and got all the news on what this means for Aussie gamers.
Bringing a gaming streaming service to Australia is something that Microsoft has taken very seriously and yes they are aware that our internet… isn’t the best. This was something that the two main presenters from the Xbox pre-brief, Kareem Choudhry, (Corporate Vice President, Cloud Gaming) and Catherine Gluckstein, (Vice President & Head of Product & Strategy, Xbox Cloud Gaming) made very clear that they knew all about before the Xbox Cloud Gaming started their Beta testing here late last year. The Beta testing for the service was closed to new participants as of the 31st of August and the testing would be coming to a close on the 29th of September. There were whispers then that the companies streaming service was going to hit Oz very soon, but it was only during the presentation that a date and all the deets were confirmed.
“It’s all about the 3 C’s – content, community, cloud”
To put it simply – Xbox Cloud Gaming will be available for anyone who has an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate account as of Friday the 1st of October 2021. However, there are a number of additional elements that come with the system that is all based around Xbox’s main focus, which is all about the 3 C’s – content, community, cloud.
For anyone who is familiar with the current Xbox Game Pass system you will know that we here at Checkpoint are massive fans and for a reason – it’s a bloody good service. Not only is it dedicated to providing their subscribers hundreds of games that they can play on PC or their Xbox consoles, but also they are bringing in day one releases, such as Psychonauts 2 and Back 4 Blood. Their acquisition of Bethesda and partnership with EA has seen many titles added to the Xbox Game Pass library.
This links in with their commitment to community; as Catherine Gluckstein stated, their focus is to “Empower every person and organisation.” Therefore, with Xbox Game Cloud, you can still play on your Xbox console and your PC, but you can also play on your Android or iOS device. When a fellow journalist brought up the possibility of the service reaching PlayStation and Nintendo devices, Kareem Choudhry presented a cheeky grin and said “it’s not us who are stopping this service coming to those systems” – read into that what you will! Another awesome addition to the cloud system will be making a number of games “touch enabled” for iOS and Android devices, such as Hades and Psychonauts 2. This will make these games and others to be announced in the future, easier to play on mobile devices.
Choudhry says that one of the most satisfying moments of working with different developers is when they meet for the first time, they don’t show them fancy presentations; they simply hand them a mobile device. On this device is the developer’s game, which confuses the devs as they have not made their game mobile compatible. It takes them a minute to realise that their game is being streamed and that they now have extended their audience by not even having to make their product adaptable to new software. The proof, therefore, is definitely in the Xbox Cloud Gaming pudding.
The cloud aspect is obviously the newest ‘c’ to be now officially added to Xbox Australia’s roster. The Xbox team have been working with gamers in Australia, along with partnering with Telstra and also using Microsoft’s cloud computing service, Azure, to make sure that the service provides an amazing experience for Aussie gamers. Catherine Gluckstein states that the Xbox Cloud Gaming service “meets the needs of Australian gamers” and therefore they hope that customers will be able to experience “frictionless play” AKA – the ability to play without interruption and obstacles such as the dreaded lag. Aussie gamers will only need to have an internet speed of 10mb per second because, as Choudhry stated, it’s very important for Cloud Gaming to be “accessible to everyone.”
So, how can you experience Xbox Cloud Gaming? If you have an existing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription then you should see cloud supported games hitting your device by tomorrow. There will be no change in price at all with Cloud Gaming being added at no extra cost to the Ultimate Subscription. Gluckstein did say that at the moment, only console native games will be available, not PC native games.
Also, due to Telstra being the official partner of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, they’re celebrating the launch of Xbox Cloud Gaming by offering Aussie gamers a few treats! Firstly, if you are a Telstra customer who does not have an existing Game Pass Ultimate account, you’ll be able to try out the service for free for the first month. Secondly, Telstra will be running the “X Marks the Spot” event. Gamers will be able to follow clues, which will be revealed at 12pm tomorrow, and find one of 10 hidden cloud gaming packs that have been hidden virtually around the internet. The first player to find all ten locations will get to choose from a Xbox Series S or a Samsung Galaxy S21 5G smartphone as their main prize, coupled with either a 12-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which will include access to Xbox Cloud Gaming, or a Razer Kishi gaming controller.
So get streaming and searching for those gaming packs gamers! If you have an opportunity to check out Xbox Cloud Gaming, let us know what you think in the comment section below. The future of gaming may be in the palms of our hands after all.