According to first reports, Project xCloud's test preview is beginning to look pretty good. Microsoft's gaming console has always the most PC-oriented out of the big three developers, with Sony being more focused on home entertainment mostly relegated to the living room and Nintendo handling the majority of mobile and handheld games. With the xCloud, however, Microsoft hopes to make Xbox games playable on mobile phones for the first time, branching out from the company's console and PC gaming bubble.
Originally teased at E3 2018 and officially announced later in the year, Project xCloud allows users to stream, rather than download, Xbox titles directly to their smartphones. Utilizing Microsoft's Azure cloud computing centers, Xbox games on mobile are designed to run smoothly and be played with either touchscreen controls or via bluetooth with an Xbox controller.
As reported by Ars Technica, the recent preview of the Project xCloud system looks like a strong start for portable Xbox One games. Right now there are four playable titles available in the program, which include Gears 5, Sea of Thieves, Halo 5:Guardians, and Killer Instinct. Thankfully, it seems like as long as the player has a solid Internet connect the games play "practically indistinguishable" from their console counterparts, save for a few mentions of delay between inputs and on-screen results.
According to the report, the xCloud system seems to prioritize frame rates over graphics, and when other people logged on to the same WiFi network as the player a loss of graphical fidelity was experienced, even though the game did not immediately slow down. However, once multiple stresses were added onto the network, such as simultaneous game and television streaming while also downloading files on a connected computer, games would reportedly "noticeably stutter and sometimes stop altogether for a fraction of a second before running through the missed frames at super speed to catch up."
While being able to stream AAA games like Gears of War 5 to a smartphone anywhere in the world sounds exciting, the consistently performing internet connection currently required may be too hard to come by for many players who have to mind their bandwidth allotments a little more carefully. However, Microsoft's xCloud program is just one of many looking to turn gaming into a live streaming service, with Google's upcoming console Stadia also hoping players are willing to consistently stream games instead of purchasing hard copies. Although the ease of purchase and convenience of streaming make the idea an attractive one for companies and gamers alike, many players are still worried about what happens when such services are inevitably discontinued and those games which people purchased are no longer accessible.
Source: Ars Technica