Tuesday, July 6, 2021

XCloud Game Streaming

 While I wait two more days to pick up my XBox Series X, I’ve been playing games on XCloud, Microsoft’s streaming service, currently in beta form on devices and browsers I own.

How is it? It’s… fine? It’s useful and functional, but not spectacular.

For reference, I’m running it in Safari, on a 2020 Macbook Pro, on a 24” LG 4K monitor, with my less-than-completely-reliable Xfinity internet connection, all wired. And it works like 95% of the time. 

About once every couple minutes, it stutters for like 5-10 seconds, then it catches up and is fine for another few minutes Maybe it’s my internet, maybe it’s them, no way to know.. I also don’t know what resolution it’s running at because as far as I can tell it refuses to say. I know it’s not HDR, though. But it’s fine. 

Control-wise, it works great with a spare PS4 controller connected to the Macbook. Reasonably stable, though I did run into a bug where the slot machines in Yakuza: Like A Dragon refuse to load, period. 

Is it an ideal way to game? Nope. But at least, unlike Google Stadia, Microsoft is pitching XCloud properly - as a backup / alternative to play a subset of your XBox Game Pass games when you can’t play them as intended. 

I’m told, and will confirm soon, that game progress is shared between the streamed and installed version of the game, so as long as the game experience isn’t too dependent on resolution or a rock-solid constant frame rate, you can pop back and forth as your schedule/household permits and squeeze a bit more game time into a busy lifestyle, and if you identify with the name of this place, you know exactly how worthwhile that is.

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