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How to Stream PS5 and Xbox Games

Game streaming is big, and it just keeps getting bigger. If you’re desperate to play some games without the necessity of downloading them to your PC or console, you can get them easily with an Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus subscription. The biggest game console makers without a name that rhymes with “spinflendo” each have their own services allowing you to play games directly from your console or else any PC with a strong enough internet connection.

Your mileage may vary depending on whether you’re a PlayStation mainliner or a ride-or-die Xbox fan. Game Pass has been going strong for years, and its cloud-based service has managed to include some notable first-party and third-party titles. PlayStation cloud-based services only arrived late last year, and it’s somewhat hampered by a lack of current or other big-name titles that make paying the nearly $20 totally worth it.

We should also note that Xbox allows you to stream games through a browser, making it possible to stream its titles on a tablet, phone, or handheld like a Steam Deck. On the flip side, PlayStation has yet to create a webpage to allow for streaming outside its official app. Sorry, the PlayStation Portal doesn’t count as true everywhere streaming.

At the very least, these services are evolving. According to a Wall Street Journal report, just this week, Microsoft finally confirmed it would bring the next Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Black Ops 6, to Game Pass right from the get-go this October. More news might be coming during the company’s big game showcase on June 9.

At the same time, PlayStation is routinely adding more games to try to entice more customers to PlayStation Plus Premium. It recently added the cowboy simulator Red Dead Redemption 2 and the social stealth game Deceive Inc. Just know that many of these games aren’t available for streaming, for now.

Accessing the games is rather easy whether you’re doing so on your console or your PC.

How to Find All the Xbox Cloud Gaming Titles

Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

Accessing the games themselves is very easy on Game Pass on Xbox Series X or Series S. With your subscription enabled on the main menu, go up to the top icons and click on the Game Pass icon. You can hit Show All to see all the available games and select the one you wish to play on the cloud. It should have a small cloud icon on it rather than a down arrow, which denotes it’s only available to play directly from the console.

Otherwise, you can scroll down until you see Game Pass membership benefits. Click where it says Cloud gaming, and you’ll bring up the full list of games you can play on the cloud.

For Game Pass on PC, the setup is very similar. The Xbox app should be automatically installed with every copy of Windows 11, but if it’s missing, you’ll want to grab it from the Microsoft Store. Once that’s all set and you’re signed in, you need to head to the Cloud Gaming tab on the Xbox app. You can scroll through the entire list or search for the specific cloud-based game you wish to play. Alternatively, you can sign in to the Xbox cloud gaming website to access all the same titles from anything from a phone to a tablet.

Game Pass Ultimate is easily one of the best services for game streaming, and most of it comes down to its very wide game selection featuring current and plenty of past titles. You can find several modern and recent games like Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II or last year’s Starfield alongside popular indie titles like Palworld or even the stellar though largely ignored Another Crab’s Treasure.

There are modern sleeper hits like Pentiment and original Xbox classics like Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge.

It’s $17 a month for Game Pass Ultimate, though Xbox does promote a 14-day trial for $1 that automatically brings you to the full price if you forget to cancel. There are more than 400 titles available on the platform for streaming. You can find the total list of games on Xbox’s website.

How to Access PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Gaming

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Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

The $18-a-month PlayStation Plus Premium subscription nets you access to the service’s cloud gaming feature. With it enabled, you need to navigate on the main menu’s icons all the way to the left, where you can select your PlayStation Plus account. You’ll see a range of options from Latest to Games. If you select Games, you should come across all the current titles available to either download or stream. However, you won’t immediately be able to tell which ones are streaming enabled just by their icon.

Instead, if you roll over to Benefits and go down to where you have the option for Cloud Streaming, you can then hit View Games to see the total selection of available streaming games.

Streaming on PC is similar to streaming on a console, though it involves the special PlayStation Plus app. You have to download it from Sony’s site. The app itself is very bare bones and still buggy (it took me several attempts to sign in to my PlayStation account). You’ll need a compatible controller, and if you want to listen to audio, you’ll need to have the right output connected to the PC and not your controller.

The game selection on PlayStation Plus isn’t all it could be. Sure, you can play the awesome samurai epic Ghost of Tsushima or the modern classic Dredge. Still, there are relatively few more recent or more expensive titles like Demon’s Souls and Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart. There are far fewer recent games save for the excellent Metroidvania Animal Well or other classic games like 2Xtreme and Worms Pinball.

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