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Xbox skips the install, gets instant cloud gaming

One of the worst things about modern game consoles is you need to install games like a PC. Fortunately, that might be going away.

If you’re old enough to remember game consoles without installs, there’s a good chance you’re in your 30s or older. It’s fine. We’re there with you.

Back before the current crop of Xbox and PlayStation models, and even the generation before that, game consoles didn’t ask you to install games the moment you inserted a disc, nor did they expect you to have a bunch of storage waiting to play the game. They just let you insert the disc and get going.

My how times have changed.

Granted, games are very different now from what they were when gaming without console installs was a thing, with better graphics, more gameplay, and a more immersive experience overall. Things have change quite a bit.

But the game install thing, that’s an issue that lingers. Whether you download a game or buy it on optical disc, you’ll have to install it to your console, and let it eat away at the drive space you have available.

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Though not necessarily.

Recently, Xbox rolled out an update to bring what used to be known as “xCloud” and is now “Xbox Cloud Gaming” to more people, providing for a way to play games before they need to be installed. Simply put, you’ll be able to play the games before they’re installed, provided you’re subscribed to an Xbox service.

Microsoft’s addition of Cloud Gaming to its Xbox consoles essentially means rather than wait for gigs of downloads to occur, you can just try a game on the service without needing to install it, looking for a cloud icon on a game and jumping in. For Xbox One owners who haven’t upgraded to an Xbox Series X or S (or maybe can’t find them because, you know, PlayStation-like console shortages), it means you can try Xbox X/S games from an Xbox One, allowing the technology in the cloud to render the hardware and experience it on a slightly older game console.

The service also works on Android apps and should be the same over web browsers, which is how Cloud Gaming can work on an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad, though does come with one requirement: you must have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. In Australia, Game Pass Ultimate Subscriptions typically run at $15.95 per month, essentially making it a $16 monthly price to play games not just without downloading them, but also remotely on devices.

Microsoft is applying it to more games, improving the library and even supporting the EA Play games also available through a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, so if you have one, you can jump into gaming very, very quickly, and from nearly anywhere now, too.

Leigh :) Stark

One of Australia's well regarded technology journalists working out of Sydney, Leigh Stark has been writing about technology for over 15 years, covering phones, computers, cameras, headphones, speakers, and more. Stylising his middle initial with an emoticon, he aims to present tech in a way that makes it easy for everyone. While he founded Pickr in 2016, Stark's work can be seen in other publications including The Australian Financial Review, Popular Science, and many more. His award-winning podcast "The Wrap" is syndicated on Southern Cross Austereo's LiSTNR network weekly, while he can be heard on radio via ABC Brisbane and ABC Canberra, and seen on TV's Nine. Check out Leigh Stark's most recent media appearances.

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