Xbox Cloud Gaming launches in New Zealand, Xbox app coming to Samsung TVs

Soon, you'll be able to play Xbox games streamed directly to your smart TV with an Xbox app installed alongside streaming apps like ThreeNow, Netflix and Neon.

Microsoft has announced its Xbox app is launching on Samsung's latest television models later this month - including in New Zealand.

Customers who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass will be able to access a library of over 100 games through the app, including brand new titles from Xbox-owned studios that create franchises like Halo and Forza.

Users will simply need to open the app, connect a bluetooth controller - even those my by Xbox rival PlayStation - and start playing, provided they have a decent internet connection.

Xbox says the app will roll out to other TV brands in the future, but at launch on June 30 it will only work on Samsung's 2022 smart TVs.

Xbox Cloud Gaming, formerly known as Project xCloud, is now finally available in New Zealand, Microsoft has announced. After initially being released in beta testing in 2019, the service has been available in many countries for some time, but as of this week can also be accessed by gamers in Aotearoa and Argentina.

With it, subscribers can play their console games on phones, tablets, PCs and other devices via the cloud.

Sony has been playing catch-up in offering a subscription service like Game Pass, with its PlayStation Plus Extra and Deluxe offerings announced earlier this year and set to launch in New Zealand on June 23.

But Xbox has a lead in the market and looks set to continuously improve the service.

"One of the things that [gamers] told us is, 'Hey, we would love to be able to stream games that we own, even if they're not in the Game Pass catalogue," said Xbox's Ashley McKissick, Corporate Vice President, Gaming Experiences & Platforms.

"So later this year, if you are a Game Pass Ultimate member, you will be able to stream from the cloud games you purchase and games that you already own as long as they're cloud-enabled in the catalogue."

Xbox Design Lab, which allows you to customise and print controllers how you like, is also being launched in New Zealand after being available to gamers in other countries for years.

The Xbox announcements were made ahead of what is traditionally the time of year when the E3 Expo is held in the US as the gaming industry's biggest annual event.

Several new games, along with updates on already announced ones, are set to be revealed at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, which will be broadcast live from 5am, Monday, June 13 (NZ time).