Xbox remote play: the latest lockdown ploy to draw gamers in

Microsoft is about to launch an Xbox app update for iOS that will allow console owners to stream games directly to their iPhones.

Microsoft is readying an update for its Xbox companion app that will soon allow digital titles to be played remotely on iPhone.

Dubbed Remote Play, which is already available on the PC version of the Xbox app, this feature will physically turn on the Xbox from within the app and the console will stream gameplay directly to the player’s iPhone.

It’s a little eerie, granted, and people will no doubt point to it being a further example of the dark web and sponsors shoving in-game advertising down our throats. Gaming has run away as 2020’s chief entertainment industry in lockdown, with a projected value of $200 billion by 2023, and you can bet Remote Play will get us to that figure a whole lot quicker.

In a practical sense, some of you may be thinking ‘how is this any different to Microsoft xCloud?’ Well, gameplay is streamed physically through the console to the phone display, and not from Microsoft’s xCloud servers. This means anyone using Remote Play will need a solid Wi-Fi connection, or even an LTE/5G connection if you can stomach the monthly bill.

The ability to remotely use your console as a host platform is undeniably cool but instantly throws up a number of potential banana skins.

What if a partner or housemate sees the shiny light on your Xbox and rightly decides to shut it off to save power, not knowing that you’re gaming from the park during your lunch hour? Fortunately Microsoft has implemented several neat tricks to prevent such a disaster.

When turned on within the app, the console will boot up without the ubiquitous sound or the light at the front, theoretically meaning those in its vicinity won’t even know it’s running – provided you don’t have an early model Xbox One with a dodgy fan. After disconnecting on your phone, the console will go back into standby mode following a ‘brief’ period of inactivity.

Remote Play is the biggest plus with the new update, but the general account management systems have seen a major upgrade too.

This version is far faster to navigate, offers the opportunity to quickly download or share game clips/screenshots captured on Xbox consoles, and even allows gamers to manage their internal storage, so you can delete older titles in preparation for the GB hungry next-gen library.

Many were wondering whether this iOS update would prompt movement with the xCloud project, but Microsoft is still contending with Apple’s confusing criteria for cooperation on that front. Apple has proposed a deal to allow Stadia and xCloud on its platforms, but it includes the odd caveat that Microsoft would have to individually submit hundreds of games as standalone apps using its streaming technology.

Whilst kinks continue to be ironed out between Microsoft and Apple, Remote Play arriving on iOS is huge news for both parties. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, gaming has become the undisputed champion of the entertainment industry and developments like this – that focus on accessibility and user-friendliness – will only fortify it’s position for the future.

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