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10 xCloud games get touch controls for mobile, with more to come

Control sets and UIs optimized for smaller screens

a happy woman plays an Xbox Console video game on a park bench, using touch controls
New Super Lucky’s Tale is one of 11 games with native touch control support via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Image: Microsoft

Ten more Xbox One games are now playable with touch controls on mobile devices, including Killer Instinct and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Microsoft announced on Thursday.

The controls are “one of the top-requested features for cloud gaming,” according to Microsoft. In September, the company launched game streaming under the service formerly called xCloud, which is available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.

Until today, all but one game available via xCloud relied on using a gamepad paired with the user’s mobile device. Minecraft Dungeons kicked off Microsoft’s cloud gaming launch last month by adding a set of native touch controls, and a user interface redesigned for smaller screens.

Thursday’s announcement means the following titles will all have touch control support on Android tablets and phones:

  • Dead Cells
  • Guacamelee! 2
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Hotshot Racing
  • Killer Instinct
  • New Super Lucky’s Tale
  • Slay the Spire
  • Streets of Rage 4
  • Tell Me Why
  • UnderMine

Four of those titles — Hellblade, Killer Instinct, New Super Lucky’s Tale, Tell Me Why — were either Xbox One console exclusives, or their studios are owned (or have since been acquired) by Microsoft.

“With the team at Ninja Theory [Microsoft acquired it in 2018] we worked on Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice to integrate the controls and how they show up in different scenarios and game modes,” said Catherine Gluckstein, Project xCloud’s head of product. “In Hotshot Racing we added a touch-controlled throttle that provides the same control that you would get from analog triggers on a controller.”

shot of a user holding a mobile phone and playing Guacamelee! 2 with touch controls
Playing Guacamelee! 2 via touch controls on an Android phone with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Image: Microsoft

Games with touch controls also have a set of commands identified by icons, instead of the Xbox One gamepad’s ABXY layout, for players unfamiliar with that setup.

“This update is just the start of our work to bring touch controls to more titles available for Android mobile devices,” Gluckstein said.

Cloud streaming came to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Sept. 15, allowing subscribers to stream more than 150 games to Android devices running the Xbox Game Pass app.

Apple’s iOS devices are not supported, because of that company’s tight control over how games are served on its platform and how Apple is paid for that service. Apple recently revised those guidelines to, technically, allow cloud-based services like xCloud, but under conditions Microsoft immediately called unacceptable. Microsoft is reportedly planning to add iOS support for xCloud — via web browsers, not a native app — in early 2021.

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