Samsung, Microsoft bring Xbox games to Galaxy devices, including Note 20 and Tab S7

The phone giant is stepping up its efforts to work with game makers after bringing Fortnite to its devices two years ago.

Ian Sherr Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read

Game away.

James Martin/CNET

Samsung believes the next way to prove the power of its phones is through the Xbox. Samsung said it's working with  Microsoft  to bring streaming game technology to Samsung  phones  and tablets , starting with the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Tab S7.

The new devices are designed to "work like a computer and play like a gaming console together," TM Roh, president and head of mobile communications at Samsung, said when announcing the new devices at Samsung's livestreamed Unpacked event Wednesday.

Watch this: First Look: Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra

The company will also offer a "gaming bundle" for its Galaxy devices, including a new controller and three prepaid months of Microsoft's $14.99 per month Xbox Games Pass Ultimate subscription. This will let people stream over 100 games to their phone over cellular or Wi-Fi connections when it launches Sept. 15.

"We're expanding our partnership with Samsung, introducing new experiences that enable your devices to work together seamlessly across work and play," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement posted to Twitter nearly eight hours after Samsung's event.

The new effort marks Samsung's latest effort to help its phones stand out amid competition against Apple's iPhones  and rival devices powered by Google's Android software. It's also one of the first high-profile partnerships for Microsoft's new Xbox streaming service, previously called Project xCloud.

Samsung's sought to highlight the graphical capabilities of its devices through games before, striking an exclusive partnership with game maker Epic to bring its popular Fortnite online battle game to Samsung's mobile devices ahead of other Google-powered phones.

Samsung isn't the only company that has pushed mobile gaming. Apple has highlighted the gaming capabilities of its iPhones, starting all the way back in 2008 when it began allowing developers to publish programs in the App Store. These days, Apple talks about how its mobile chips are capable of delivering near-console quality gaming experiences. Last year, Apple also began offering its Apple Arcade subscription service, giving people access to more than 100 ad-free apps for $5 per month.

Samsung will offer its Xbox cloud gaming app in its specialized app store when it launches. The service will also be made available to other people using devices powered by Android software. Microsoft said that while it plans to offer cloud gaming on as many devices as it can, it won't be available for Apple's iPhone at launch.

CNET's Shara Tibken and Roger Cheng contributed to this report.