Ahead of Microsoft’s big Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase on Sunday, Microsoft is announcing some news about Xbox Game Pass Ultimate including upcoming official support for streaming games directly in web browsers.
In a new blog post from Microsoft, CEO Satya Nadella and Xbox chief Phil Spencer reiterated the company’s commitment to expanding the reach of Xbox beyond consoles.
“We believe that games, that interactive entertainment, aren’t really about hardware and software,” Spencer said. “It’s not about pixels. It’s about people. Games bring people together.”
To that end, Microsoft is announcing a number of updates coming to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the most important of which is official support for streaming games directly in your browser—no need for a dedicated app.
Microsoft began testing out Xbox Game Pass streaming in browsers earlier this year, and now it seems it’s ready for primetime, with browser support expected to open to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers sometime “in the next few weeks.”
Supported browsers are expected to include both Chrome and Edge, along with Safari, the latter being a big deal for any iPhone or Mac users looking to stream games to their devices. Previously, Microsoft had explored making a dedicated Game Pass app for iOS, however, because Apple’s App Store guidelines require that each streaming game must have its own App Store listing, game streaming apps as a whole aren’t really feasible.
Aside from new browser support, Microsoft is looking to expand Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to new markets including Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan sometime later this year. And going forward, Microsoft says it’s “exploring new subscription offerings” and is working with TV makers to include support for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Microsoft didn’t provide any specific examples, but the company did mention that it’s working on creating streaming devices (most likely a dongle of some sort) that would allow people to stream games to any TV or monitor without the need for a physical console.
And Microsoft said that it’s in the final stages of upgrading its data centers with new hardware from the Xbox Series X, which should result in faster load times, higher frame rates, and just generally better performance when streaming games from the cloud.
Finally, sometime later this year, Microsoft said it will integrate support for cloud gaming into the Xbox app on PC, unlocking more cross-platform integration like the ability to “try before you download.”
With Microsoft coming up on the 1-year anniversary of the addition of cloud gaming to Xbox Game Pass, it’s nice to see the company continue to push to support gaming on all kinds of hardware and displays.