Microsoft adds remote Xbox streaming to its free Android app

You can either pay the Xbox Game Pass subscription fee to stream Game Pass games from the cloud, or stream your own games from your Xbox console to your Android phone or tablet, for free.

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft said Monday that it has released a new Xbox app for Android phones and tablets, allowing gamers to stream games from their home Xbox console for free, and setting up a tiered model for cloud-gaming services.

The company has released the updated Xbox app (beta) into the Play Store, complete with a new unified notification inbox and voice and text chat. But underneath it all is Microsoft’s interpretation of what services should be free for you to use, and what you’ll have to pay for.

Microsoft’s free Xbox app for Android is separate from its Xbox Game Pass app, and streaming appears to be the reason why. Microsoft’s new free, beta Xbox app unlocks Console Streaming for all users, all for free.

Console Streaming streams your games from your Xbox, right to your phone, using the power of the console to encode and process your inputs. (It will need to be plugged in so it can be remotely awakened. It also won’t work for original Xbox and Xbox 360 games that you can play via the Xbox Backward Compatibility feature.) The key here is that if you’ve owned and installed the game on your console, you can play it remotely over your phone or tablet for free. Here’s what you’ll need to get started with Console Streaming

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass app for Android phones and tablets works slightly differently. For one, though the app is free, the service is not. Game Pass costs $14.99 per month, though it could be less if you know how to work the system. Game Pass allows you to stream games, too, with some differences: First, the games have to part of the Game Pass subscription, and they have to be part of the smaller subset that allows you to play via the cloud. Second, it doesn’t matter if you own the game or have it installed on your console; Microsoft’s own “Xbox in the cloud” consoles are providing the CPU and GPU horsepower, 24/7.

Microsoft has subscription religion, and Microsoft’s doing everything in its power to get you to sign up to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft 365, and more. The new Xbox app and Console Streaming, though, provide a gentler landing for those who don’t want to pay for Game Pass and still want to experience console streaming. The catch, of course, is that you’ll still need to own an Xbox. 

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Imou: At home with security

Modern living is all about functionality and security for everybody from the very young to the very old. With Imou anybody can enjoy smart life – the solution is at their fingertips.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?