Xbox Cloud Gaming: Meta Quest Gimmick or Vital Feature?

This month Meta Quest finally got the coveted Xbox Cloud Gaming feature. Currently, in beta form, it allows Quest owners with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to stream 2D games on the platform. That means, being able to play games like Halo Infinite, Forza Motorsport and Starfield on a huge virtual screen. But is 2D Xbox Cloud Gaming on Quest worth the fuss, or is it merely a marketing gimmick?

If you’re an Xbox owner who already subscribes to Game Pass (like I am), then you’ll know there’s a huge wealth of content available. Game Pass is one of the main reasons to own an Xbox, and if you use it regularly then it pays for itself. Combined with Cloud Gaming, you can essentially play games on almost anything that has a screen, anywhere you like. So far so good, but in my mind VR is a little different.

Xbox Cloud Gaming Game Pass Meta Quest

2D VR Gaming

For me, the whole point of VR is that it offers a gaming experience found nowhere else. You can’t replicate it on a tablet or a phone. VR drops you into amazingly immersive environments that are unattainable in real life. Games like Asgard’s Wrath 2, The 7th Guest VR, and Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice are just some recent examples of this. Gamers buy headsets like Meta Quest to see the stunning experiences VR offers, not just to play a 2D game they can access anywhere.

You will, of course, need to be paying for an Ultimate subscription to start with – I don’t see anyone paying just to play in VR. Other caveats include having a compatible controller – Xbox, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch Pro controllers all work – and a minimum Internet connection speed of 20Mbps. The app offers four different screen sizes to play the games on. Plus you can enjoy an Xbox-themed virtual space or use passthrough to view your own surroundings on Meta Quest 3 or Quest Pro.

However, there’s one other factor that makes the feature more quirky than essential. Some of Game Pass’s biggest titles are huge, where you can spend hundreds of hours. Quest, right out of the box allows for two hours of gameplay – four if you’ve bought a battery attachment. Not a great deal of time to sink your teeth into Starfield. Plus, I’m sure I’m not alone in enjoying laying back on the sofa playing these games on a nice 4K TV all evening, rather than wearing a headset all the time. I enjoy both worlds individually for what they are.

While the service was announced in 2022, my other thought is that Meta is keenly eyeing up competition from Apple Vision Pro. Apple’s device might not be consumer-focused but a key part of the original presentation highlighted 2D gaming. Having Xbox Cloud Gaming onboard is another boon for Meta Quest, securing its place as the VR gaming headset of choice.

VR wants to attract more players to the space. But that should be achieved via great, unmissable VR content. Do you agree? Let us know your impressions of Xbox Cloud Gaming on Quest in the comments.