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Games: xCloud Browser – A Hands-On Experience

Next up, my Android phone. My phone is a Poco x3 NFC, a new phone and model as of September 2020 but by no means top of the range. As I noted earlier, I’ve used this with the xCloud app and been impressed with the performance. The changes from pc are dramatic to stay the least, due to the much smaller screen size the resolution is no longer an issue, with games looking crisp and clean.

My PC is using a wired connection, but performance does appear to be a little better on my phone even using Wifi. Bear in mind this is my experience and it is still in Beta and I also don’t have the tools to be able to measure this in numbers to prove it.

I would even say that performance is better using the browser than the app, with fewer internet drops and games running well as long as I didn’t move too far from my WiFi hub. Xbox 360 games were recently added to the services and they shine here. Banjo-Kazooie comes highly recommended even though it’s not perfect like it was on the 360.

Finally, I synced my controller to my Ipad and decided to give it one last try on a different device.

Expanding Project xCloud

As with all my other tests, I decided to start with MLB The Show 21, even going up to the bigger screen on the Ipad the image quality was still much better than what I had experienced before on my PC. The game looked really good, but the performance was lacking. I’m not great at this game to start with, but the timing was so hard to get right I quickly gave up.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that any of the other games that I tried out faired much better. Wreckfest, Minecraft dungeons and Tell Me Why were all plagued with performance issues. Both audio and performance. 

They looked good, but the experience that I have had on the Android app was far better.

Remember, the xCloud service can vary massively depending on your internet service or the device you are using. There are loads of variables in place that make it hard to confirm the performance you will get.

xCloud at its best is great, it provides access to games without the need for high-level hardware. This is something we could have only dreamed about five or so years ago. The other point to note is that this isn’t something you need to pay extra for, if you subscribe to Gamepass, it’s just another option to access the games that they have on offer.

Project xCloud: Gaming with you at the center - The Official Microsoft Blog

There is work to be done here to make this something that people would go out of their way to pay for, and the listed internet requirements for the service are a joke. But I can see both how and why this could work going forward with a little work.

There are some really neat touches in some of the games, like the Android version of Gears 5 even including motion controls for aiming. The servers that run the games are currently being hosted on Xbox one hardware, I imagine that when this is upgraded to the Series systems (which has been confirmed to be in the works) there should be a performance boost, alongside this there should also be both Series X/s optimisations and FPS boost on older titles.

Just now, this is Microsoft doing what they do best currently and giving players another option going forward to access a hell of a lot of games for not a lot of upfront cash. Unfortunately, it’s not perfect in its current state.

A+ for effort but still a little work to make it a home run……back to MLB The Show I go then.


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