Cloud gaming for beginners with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
The newbie’s guide to cloud gaming
Things you need to learn: all the fun stuff.
Degree of excitement: high.
4 minute read
So you think you can game?
Know what? You can! You landed here because something about Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) has sparked your interest. And if you’ve read our intro to cloud gaming article you’ll know that the subscription-based Xbox Game Pass Ultimate brings together over one hundred amazing console games with the convenience of gaming on any compatible PC, mobile device or tablet you have. But like everything in life, we have a few cheeky tips and tricks to get you gaming with confidence.
Gaming is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and we don’t want you to be overwhelmed by unnecessary tech jargon. (There’ll be time for that later as you level up).
Let’s get you set up
Your checklist is short and sweet.
Getting the essentials right
- An Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription (this includes over 100 console games, Xbox Live – multiplayer gaming, Telstra Plus perks and heaps of other swag)
- A compatible mobile device like a smartphone, tablet or laptop with a late version operating system. Check out this Reddit article for details
- A reliable 4G/5G wifi connection, with a bandwidth of 10Mbps for mobile and 20Mbps for tablet or PC
- We also recommend a controller (sold separately).
Cloud gaming works on Android, iOS or Windows devices
If your device is compatible (and most modern ones are) you’re good to go. There are loads of verified devices, and you’ll find all the latest info, regularly updated on Reddit.
If you have an Android device
You’ll need to download the Xbox Game Pass mobile app from the Google Play or Samsung Galaxy store.
If you have an iOS (Apple) device
On an Apple device, you will need to play via your web browser. Sign in with your Microsoft account, then pin the web address to your home screen by selecting 'share' and 'add to home screen'.
Let’s talk about controllers
As a new cloud gamer, we highly recommend just diving in with the compatible PC, smartphone or tablet you already have. You can test out whether cloud gaming’s for you and once you’ve decided you like it (trust us, it’ll be love at first game), you'll want to dive headlong into the entire Xbox Cloud Gaming catalogue. But first, you'll need a compatible controller. Visit Xbox support to find out if your controller fits the bill.
An Xbox Series X/S Wireless Controller is a great one to start with.
Let's be real, sometimes looks count. And this is everything you’d imagine a modern gaming controller to be - all sculpted surfaces and super comfy ergonomics for hours of gameplay. It features a textured grip on the triggers and a ‘Share’ button, so you can effortlessly play, capture and share screenshots, recordings, and more. It’s also super-easy to pair it wirelessly or via Bluetooth® with your Android device (like a phone or tablet) or Windows PC.
Optimising your home network
Lose the lag, get the bandwidth back together
We’re not talking speed here, we’re talking data. Lots of data. Bandwidth is simply the amount of data that your network connection can handle at any given moment. Just like a freeway at peak hour, the more congested it becomes, the harder it is to get home. Bandwidth is measured in Mbps (fun to read, hard to say). Mbps are just megabits per second, tiny units of data where one megabit = one million units.
You’ll need decent bandwidth if you’re gaming on your home network. Otherwise, how else are you going to have the capacity to defeat your nemesis?
As a rule, cloud gaming needs 10Mbps for mobile devices and 20Mbps for PCs. If you’re not ready to prioritise gaming traffic on your home network with an add-on like Game Optimiser, we suggest talking to your housemates/family. Work out the best time to play, knowing that you're going to have the network all to yourself.
Harnessing the speed of a wireless network
It sounds obvious, but good games start and finish with reliable, high-speed internet. Because when you’re mid-shot and everything suddenly goes s-l-o-m-o, you’re experiencing what every gamer fears even more than being sniped by their opponent - lag.
A little wireless boost works wonders
Whether you’re playing on 4G or looking for the game-changing speed of Australia’s largest 5G network, Telstra lets you discover Xbox in more places.
At home, you’ll want a 5GHz wifi connection (that's your wifi frequency), which is designed to cover a small area. If you still need to extend the range of your wifi further, you can literally boost the signal with a Telstra Smart Wi-fi booster which pairs wirelessly to a smart modem.
Go wired with an ethernet cable instead
Your other option is to connect to your PC or console (if you have one) via an ethernet cable. The signal will be transferred via a stable, enclosed connection, giving it much less opportunity to lag.