It’s out of beta and into your browsers and cell phones. XCloud, Microsoft’s answer to the Stadia, is here. We can now freely stream a healthy library of games, but at what cost of quality?
We saw the story over at Arstechnica. Safari, Chrome, and Edge browsers have joined the official list of supported avenues, along with IOS devices. Click here for the comprehensive list of what will work with the new service and required PC specs.
I’ve been looking forward to this service. My Game Pass account is paid up for several years, thanks to MS’s generosity. So, I planned to take full advantage of it now that I can travel again.
The excitement took a major dip right off the bat when I tried to access the service. Even though I was signed in, the XBOX site kept asking me to repurchase Game Pass. Considering I cannot add any more subscription time to my account until 2023, I found this odd. So I searched for a couple of different links into XCloud and finally found one that bypassed this weird double-dipping paywall.
So, we tried XCloud gaming here at the Syxx Sense Media Studios. Unfortunately, it’s… not good. At first, we tried Doom Eternal because that’s a good benchmark for latency. However, if you don’t have tight controls in that game, it’s a nightmare to play. Indeed, a nightmare it was. I’d take my hands off the controller, and Doom Guy would still be walking forwards for about a half-second.
Next, we booted up Streets of Rage 4. While it does require quick reflexes, the game is more forgiving. I’ve plowed through the game multiple times on the Switch, and around halfway through my first playthrough on the XBOX One.
Notice anything weird about the gameplay? It’s sluggish. The controller latency is pretty bad. This is on a 200mb/s connection. What we experienced here is about on par with what we saw with the Stadia. PSNow is a bit better, but that service has had years to work out the kinks.
Would I pay $14.99 a month solely for this service? Not a chance. Is it a nice side feature if you have an XBOX One or Series X? Yeah. If you’ve already got a PC, I’m not sure I understand the draw of using XCloud, as many of the games are either available elsewhere or are downloadable on the XBOX app.
About two weeks ago, we gave Amazon’s Luna a shot, and it worked surprisingly well. Our first game was RE: Biohazard. It was a little more obvious that it was a stream, with some minor stuttering, but the latency was almost unnoticeable. The stall in our control inputs to movement on-screen only crept up when our connection speed dipped as the peak usage hours started.
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