If you're new to cloud gaming, start here
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Cloud gaming. You’ve heard about it, but what is it? If you want to learn more about one of Australia’s fastest growing forms of entertainment, then let's play.
6 minute read
The A-X of Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta)
Every level of gamer will love cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. With a compatible controller, you can play console games on your PC, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet. You'll also:
Get instant access to 100+ games
Access latest games the day they’re released
Save your gameplay and switch between games
Play anywhere there's a fixed/mobile internet connection with a minimum bandwidth of 10 Mbps for mobile or 20 Mbps for tablets and PCs.
What kind of gamer are you?
How do I get set up? Can my wifi handle it? What’s a multiplayer? Do I need 5G or 5Ghz (or both)? What games can I get? What about bandwidth? Do I need to worry about lag?
Whether you’re new to cloud gaming, or you've had some experience with it, these questions matter. Time to level up so you can get your game plan off the ground and into the cloud!
I’m new to cloud gaming
Jump into Xbox Cloud Gaming setup, network and bandwidth optimisation tips.
I’ve been gaming for a while
Go full tilt through network frequencies, Internet Optimiser and accessories to boost your experience.
Once upon a time, games were… different
Way back when, you’d head to your local pizzeria and pop twenty cents in the slot to skilfully navigate an 8-bit frog through traffic and other hazardous moving obstacles. The good news is, those frogs still exist, just in a more accessible, less pixelly dimension. Pizza, optional.
Cloud gaming has been around for a while, but it only recently launched in Australia. And the great thing about it is that whether you’re at newbie, mid or expert level, it gives you the freedom to enjoy streamlined access to all the high-quality games you love (or just want to explore). This makes it way more affordable than classic console gaming if you want to say, dip your toe in the Sea of Thieves or descend into Minecraft Dungeons, but also don’t want to over-commit.
Ditch the download, it’s all in the cloud
Chances are, you’re already subscribing to a streaming service to get your movie, sport, and favourite TV show fixes. How cool is it that we can access on-demand content anywhere, armed with just a mobile device and an internet connection? Cloud gaming works in a similar way. The main difference however, is that the videos on your screen react every time you interact with them.
Let's say your character is in peril. You're trying to avoid an untimely demise into the jaws of a fire breathing dragon. You tap to raise the sword, and your interaction with the game is sent to a server hidden in a remote data centre full of servers far, far away (not quite as magical as an actual cloud but still amazing). The server processes your epic, dragon-slaying move and pings it back to you in real-time. Add multiple interactions, and it’s game on (bonus: your character lives to see the next adventure). That’s the awesome thing about cloud gaming: you don’t need to download, install or store games on a compatible device. You won’t need to upgrade hardware or components. Game at the park, the beach, in your back garden - whenever you feel the need for a bit of escapism.
All it takes is a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a compatible device + controller, and a decent internet connection with the right bandwidth (we can recommend a telco!).
Subscription based cloud gaming for a small monthly fee
Gamers of all levels have told us how much they love trying new games on their compatible smartphone (and other devices) without needing to buy a console. Literally, for a small monthly fee you get to play loads of new games – and if they’re not your thing – well, there are loads more to choose from after that. Forecast? Cloudy with a strong chance of games.
Welcome to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
When you have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you’re never bored. That’s because you’ll get access to over 100 high-quality games for console, PC, phone and tablet. You’ll also get to enjoy new games from day one of your subscription, like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Sea of Thieves and Minecraft, as well as iconic franchises like DOOM, indie games, and blockbusters. New games are added regularly, so there’s always something fresh to try. But that’s only the beginning. When you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you also have exclusive access to a swag of gaming perks, including Xbox Live Gold, EA Play membership and a host of other Xbox extras.
Xbox Live Gold
Xbox Live Gold is the original online multiplayer membership for Xbox consoles. It connects multiplayers by the millions – whether you’re playing against your mates on the living room sofa – or with amigos halfway across the globe. You won’t need a separate Xbox Live Gold membership, the most advanced multiplayer network and all its benefits are built right into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
EA Play membership
As an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member, you’ll also get EA Play - a similar digital games membership from Electronic Arts. As a cloud gamer, EA Play gives you access to top titles on console and PC from favourite series like Battlefield™ and STAR WARS™. Plus, you get more from the games you love, including exclusive in-game challenges and rewards, member-only content, and early trials of handpicked new EA titles.
Perks? Plenty to see here, including in-game content, consumables, and more. You also get great member discounts on selected games in the Xbox Game Pass library, along with related game add-ons.
Controller at the ready? It's game on
Cloud gaming couldn’t be more accessible if it tried. You can play it on any kind of compatible screen you have. Yes, you can even turn your trusty smartphone into a games console. But the other important thing we recommend is a handheld controller, because it takes your gaming experience up a level. Not ready for a controller? You can still use touch screen controls in over 100 different games.
We'll take a closer look at controllers in our casual and mid-level gaming articles.
Get gaming, faster with the power of a great connection
To honour our partnership, we’ve optimised our networks so you can experience Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) in more places. That's why a good internet plan is essential. Connect to 5Ghz wifi (broadcast frequency) at home, or to Telstra's mobile network.
Now let's talk about speed. Because 5G (a mobile network technology) and gaming were always meant to be. Thanks to 5G’s zippiness, reach, network capacity and reduced latency/lag (the bane of a gamer’s existence), cloud gaming has morphed into an intuitive, responsive – and totally immersive experience that’ll have you plotting moves down to the very millisecond. Of course, to appreciate all the game-changing things of Australia’s largest 5G network, you’ll need a 5G compatible device and a mobile plan with 5G network access.
And while 5G now reaches 75% of Australians, where it’s not yet available, your device will automatically switch to 4G. It’s also important to know that you can still play on 4G and have an amazing cloud experience.
We also have heaps of great features that will elevate your cloud gaming to new levels. Take Internet Optimiser. It’s a tool to help you avoid home network traffic jams by customising which devices get the bandwidth first. We’ll uncover this in greater depth in our mid-level gamer article.
Explain like I’m 5: 5G and the gaming revolution
Is the gaming revolution upon us?
I don't know, is it? Why yes it is, thanks to 5G and I'm here to tell you how.
This is 5G Explain Like I'm Five, the show where I break down all the tech talk, so that we can all understand it.
In this episode, I'll be talking you through how 5G can enhance cloud gaming, console to mobile gaming, VR and AR.
First up, cloud gaming.
Technically speaking, cloud gaming is where instead of having a computer or console running the game, the bulk of the processing happens remotely on a server and is streamed from the cloud straight to the players smartphone or TV, kind of like how you stream Netflix or YouTube.
What makes a difference here is capacity, speed and latency, which is where 5G could really take this to the next level.
That's a bit technical, man. Can you explain it like I'm five?
Put it this way. Cloud gaming is like having your favourite meal, made at your favourite restaurant, delivered to you almost instantly. Thanks 5G.
You could be leaving the house. Thanks 5G.
At a bar. Hey, thanks 5G.
So basically wherever you have 5G connection and a 5G enabled device. But what-
Thank you, 5G.
But what does it all mean? It means convenience. You won't need to cart around a console or use a super fancy gaming computer that looks like a nightclub for tiny people.
It also means we'll see super crisp video streams with richer graphics as well as reduced ping rates and speedy response times. This is because the network will have more capacity and the potential for lower lag.
So the data that is being sent and received from the user to the server happens [click] real quick.
It's like I'm in a 5G commercial. 5G or as I like to call it, 5-gee that's fast.
Will take the rapidly expanding world of virtual and augmented reality to the next level.
See it takes 13 milliseconds for the brain to process images. Any lag time over that can be jarring and make you feel pretty sick [distorted].
So you need that speed and lower latency for that true VR experience.
So you can hit the tennis court, walk with the dinosaurs, or visit a nude beach.
This headset is what you traditionally need for a VR experience, but because all the processing can now be done in the cloud, with 5G, it means we'll see much smaller, sleeker devices, similar to the evolution of mobiles it'll be going from this to this.
Now, when it comes to augmented reality, 5G is set to bring you 4K in HD outside.
Think Pokémon Go but with realistic quality images.
[Voiceover]: For legal reasons, this is not a Pokémon.
It's like he's really there.
Let's get into console to mobile gaming. This is when you can play games from your console over the net on your tablet or mobile phone, not the App Store version.
I don't know who that was.
4G made this a real thing, but as the resolution of games gets better and better, more data is needed to be streamed and this is where 5G can make this a pretty much seamless experience.
It means you can keep playing your Xbox when you leave the room. If you're sneaky enough, you'll be able to play console games while you're at work.
Case in point.
There you have it, the future is virtually ping free my friends.
Gamers get the goods with Telstra Plus™
When you’re a Telstra Plus member – and you have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - you’ll really notice the rewards stacking up! Earn points every time you shop with us or make an eligible payment and redeem in our Rewards Store for cool stuff - like gaming gear, subscriptions, bundles and loads more.
What games should I play?
That's the million pixel question. To get a feel for what’s out there, check out the extensive Xbox games library. At the time of writing, here are the top 10 hits:
- Minecraft Dungeons
- Halo: The Master Chief collection
- Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition
- Sea of Thieves
- Marvel Avengers
- Destiny 2
- MLB® The Show™ 21 Xbox Series X I S
- Gang Beasts
- Farming Simulator