Xbox is making gaming flexible with the launch of Xbox Cloud Gaming, a new feature that lets you stream games anywhere, anytime – no console required.
Going live in Australia from October 1 – albeit in Beta mode – Xbox Cloud Gaming allows users to play over one hundred Xbox Game Pass titles on their compatible laptop, smartphone, or tablet, from any location with access to a fast internet connection. This means gamers can jump right into big-name titles such as Forza Horizon 4, Sea of Thieves and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, without the need to purchase an Xbox console or expensive gaming PC.
What is Xbox Cloud Gaming?
As the name suggests, all Xbox Cloud Gaming titles are cloud-enabled, so won’t require players to download the games themselves or any subsequent updates. All data is synced and saved to a player’s account, so gamers can pick up where they left off on any compatible Apple, Android, or Windows 10 device, or their Xbox console. The games themselves are expected to stream with faster load times and improved frame rates.
With availability and pricing of consoles such as the Xbox Series X an obstacle for many prospective buyers, the option to simply log in and play on a range of devices will make gaming more accessible and affordable than ever. It also means that many newer titles will finally be playable on the Xbox One series, so console owners won’t need to upgrade in order to access popular games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Xbox Cloud Gaming will be available as part of the company’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a subscription service that allows players to access a library of more than one hundred titles, including new blockbuster games and iconic franchises. The service also includes Xbox Live Gold online multiplayer, and is priced at $15.95 per month with no lock-in contract.
While you can pick up Xbox Game Pass Ultimate directly from the Xbox store, the subscription platform has also arrived at Telstra. The company is Xbox’s exclusive Australian telco partner, and has offered customers access to Game Pass via its Xbox All Access bundle since late 2019.
This is the first time the telco has given customers the chance to add Game Pass Ultimate to their Telstra account without the console add-on. If you’re new to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can sign up now via Telstra and receive your first month free.
Telstra 5G: perfect for gaming?
While gamers can connect to Xbox Cloud Gaming over their home’s internet connection, if you’re planning to play on the go – or aren’t thrilled with your current broadband speeds – Telstra is pushing its ever-growing 5G network as the solution for fast gameplay when you’re away from WiFi. The telco has confirmed that its 5G coverage now reaches over 75% of Australians, and is available in over 3,200 suburbs and more than 240 cities and towns nation-wide.
If you’re on a 5G-ready Telstra phone or mobile broadband plan, and have a 5G-compatible device, you’ll be able to access all of Xbox Cloud Gaming’s titles over Telstra 5G where available. With Telstra 5G internet typically offering speeds of 300Mbps or faster, the network is a great match for gamers who want more bandwidth and less lag.
“We think our customers are going to love using Xbox Cloud Gaming on our low latency, high-capacity 5G – especially when playing co-op and multiplayer titles,” said Nathan Gumley, Head of Gaming at Telstra.
“We’ve worked closely with Microsoft to optimise our networks to make sure Telstra gamers have a great Xbox gaming experience – whether they’re playing at home or using their mobile device outside.”
However, if you do plan to connect via 5G, you’ll need to be aware of your data usage. All of Telstra’s 5G plans include capped full-speed gigabytes each month, so there’s no unlimited 5G data option available. With Xbox Cloud Gaming tipped to burn through 2.5GB-3GB of data per hour – similar to what you’d use to stream in HD – gigabytes can add up quickly.
Although Telstra no longer charges excess data fees in Australia, once your max-speed monthly gigabyte allowance is gone, your data speeds will be dialled back to 1.5Mbps for the rest of your billing cycle. This definitely doesn’t offer enough oomph for cloud gaming, but should be fast enough for basic web browsing and music streaming.
If you’re looking to game on mobile, Telstra’s Medium, Large and Extra Large SIM-only plans all include 5G network access, as well as unlimited standard talk and text in Australia, and no excess data charges. Full-speed data allowances begin at 80GB per month on the Medium plan, up to 180GB on the Extra Large.
The following table shows a selection of published Telstra postpaid plans with 5G access on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our mobile plan comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.
Gaming NBN plans
If you’re considering Telstra for a high-speed, gaming-ready broadband plan, the telco is also currently offering a $15 monthly discount on its premium NBN 100 plan for new customers for your first 12 months.
Normally priced at $110 per month, Telstra’s unlimited plan is now $95 monthly for your first year. This plan offers typical evening download speeds of 100Mbps, and can be upgraded to NBN 250 or NBN 1000 speeds where available.
Customers can also add Telstra’s Game Optimiser feature to their plan for an extra $10 per month (currently free for your first month). Game Optimiser includes features such as a real-time network monitor, congestion control, a ping heatmap, a built-in adblocker and more.
Gaming-ready NBN plans compared
The following table shows a selection of published gaming-ready NBN plans from Telstra and Aussie Broadband on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
Cheap NBN plans compared
Not every gamer needs the fastest internet, and some people like it cheaper. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 25 and NBN 50 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
NBN 100 plans compared
If you’d like your gaming experience to have a little extra kick, these plans will do the job. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 100 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
NBN 250 & NBN 1000 plans compared
If you want an NBN plan with some serious power, an Ultra fast NBN plan is for you – albeit more expensive. The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
|Brand||Features||Max Data**/billing period||Advertised Cost^^/billing period|
min. cost $119.95 over one month
|Unlimited||$119.95||Go To Site|
min. cost $128.90 over one month
|Unlimited||$128.90||Go To Site|
min. cost $129 over one month
|Unlimited||$129||Go To Site|
min. cost $139.95 over one month
|3TB||$139.95||Go To Site|
min. cost $3,459 over 24 months
|Unlimited||$140||Go To Site|
min. cost $148.90 over one month
|Unlimited||$148.90||Go To Site|
min. cost $149 over one month
|Unlimited||$149||Go To Site|
min. cost $4,419 over 24 months
|Unlimited||$180||Go To Site|
|View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue||**^^View important information|