The Xbox app for Windows finally brings cloud gaming to Arm devices
During the Surface event and the Ignite conference this week, Microsoft announced a slew of new products, including a stunning new Surface Pro 9 and the integration of iCloud into the Windows 11 Photos app. However, a significant piece of information got lost in the shuffle. Microsoft also announced this week that the Xbox app for Windows now supports Arm-powered devices, like the Surface Pro X and the new Surface Pro 9 with 5G. This means that you can now use the Windows app to play games with Xbox Cloud Gaming, making it possible to use Arm devices that are thin and light as gaming machines.
Cloud gaming has been supported by the Xbox app for Windows for some time, but the app only works on x86-based PCs, which is unfortunate. Because the Xbox app could not even be emulated to run on Windows PCs with Arm processors, you had to use a browser. Additionally, the only browsers that are optimized for Arm devices are Microsoft Edge and Firefox, which may not be suitable for all users. Thankfully, the Xbox app can now be used, and an updated version that supports Arm devices is coming out this week.
You can play “hundreds” of games that are rendered remotely and streamed to you over the internet through Xbox Cloud Gaming. This means that you don’t need a powerful device to play popular games, including Fortnite, which are now even more accessible thanks to free access. You can also get a lot of paid games with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, including major Xbox Game Studios releases like Halo Infinite and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Despite making their debut five years ago, Windows devices utilizing Arm processors have encountered a number of obstacles that give the impression that they are not yet ready for widespread adoption. Rich Woods pointed out in our most recent review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s that many apps still don’t work or aren’t optimized well, making these devices hard to recommend. One such example was the Xbox app at the time, but thankfully, that is no longer the case.
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In addition to Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft has recently taken steps to increase the appeal of Windows on Arm devices as a whole. PowerToys also supports the architecture, and even Visual Studio is getting an update with native Arm support. Built-in Windows 11 applications like the Camera and Calculator have recently added native Arm support. Additionally, Microsoft is working on Project Volterra, a Windows development machine based on Arm.