This week brought an onslaught of Microsoft news across the Surface event and Ignite conference, including a lovely new Surface Pro 9 and the announcement of iCloud integration into the Windows 11 Photos app. However, there was major news that got lost in the shuffle. This week, Microsoft also announced that the Xbox app for Windows finally supports Arm-powered devices, such as the Surface Pro X and the new Surface Pro 9 with 5G. This means you can now use the Windows app to play games using Xbox Cloud Gaming, making it possible to effectively use thin and light Arm devices as gaming machines.
The Xbox app for Windows has supported cloud gaming for a while now, but unfortunately the app only works on x86-based PCs. If you had a Windows PC with an Arm processor, you were forced to use a browser because the Xbox app wouldn’t even work on Arm devices through emulation. And if you’re using a browser, the only ones optimized for Arm devices are Microsoft Edge and Firefox, which aren’t for everyone. Fortunately, you can now use the Xbox app, with an updated version rolling out this week with support for Arm devices.
Xbox Cloud Gaming gives you access to “hundreds” of games rendered remotely and streamed over the internet. This means you don’t need an insanely powerful device to enjoy popular titles, including free access to games like Fortnite, making them even more accessible. With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you also get plenty of paid titles, including major Xbox Game Studios launches like Infinite Halo Where Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Windows devices powered by Arm processors have encountered a number of hurdles that make them look like they’re not quite ready for mass adoption, despite debuting five years ago. . In our recent Lenovo ThinkPad X13s review, Rich Woods noted that many apps still don’t work or aren’t well optimized, making these devices hard to recommend. At the time, the Xbox app was an example of this, but luckily that’s no longer the case.
Beyond Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft has recently made strides to make Windows on Arm devices more appealing in general. Built-in Windows 11 apps such as Camera and Calculator have recently added native Arm support, PowerToys also has architecture support, and even Visual Studio is updated with native Arm support. Arm. Microsoft is also working on Project Volterra, an Arm-based Windows development machine.