In parallel to its next-generation marketing push for the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is likewise busy with its cloud gaming platform. The beta test for Project xCloud started late in 2019 for Android devices, while the iOS version started early this year. According to insiders, the latter has been difficult as existing App Store policies are in the way. Therefore, this reportedly prompted the Xbox team to end its trials sooner than expected. Now, it is unclear if Apple's devices will still be supported by the service when it launches next month.

Those who sign up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Tuesday, Sept. 15, will also get access to Project xCloud. Subscribers will be able to play first-party titles from Microsoft Game Studios on compatible devices as long as they have access to high-speed internet connections. Around 10,000 users have signed up on iOS and were given access to only one game which is "Halo: The Master Chief Collection." This was apparently mandated by Apple's restrictions.

Microsoft did not specify the exact cause as to why it ended tests abruptly. "Our Project xCloud preview TestFlight period has ended on iOS and we are focused on delivering cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to Android customers beginning September 15," as stated by a company representative to The Verge. "It's our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices."

Many suspect that it has something to do with Apple's stand on "remote desktop clients," which limits connectivity to devices in the same network only. This has affected not only Microsoft's service but Epic Games Store and Google's Stadia as well. In fact, even though Valve's Steam Link app was approved -- given that it streams gameplay from a user's local computer -- it still took them close to a year to do so.

Xbox partners with Samsung for Project xCloud
Unlike Google's recently introduced game-streaming platform, the Stadia, feedback for Project xCloud have been surprisingly favourable. Photo: Microsoft

Meanwhile, during Samsung's Unpacked 2020 virtual presentation, it was revealed that Microsoft has partnered with them for Project xCloud. The exclusive deal will certainly make the brand's latest devices such as the Galaxy Note 20/20 Ultra, Galaxy Tab S7/S7+, and Galaxy Z Fold 2 more attractive to gamers. In related news, the iPhone 12 series was recently confirmed to ship at a later date due to production problems.