Microsoft has announced that its xCloud service, formally known as Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Xbox Remote Play is now available to anyone using the Xbox software on Windows 10 computers (or 11). These PC features were released as a beta for Xbox Insider last month and have been available on phones for a while, but it’s wonderful to see they’re now officially available on PC as well. It adds another option for how you want to play, regardless of whether the game is running on your home console or on Microsoft’s servers.
Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly known as Project xCloud) is Microsoft’s Xbox cloud gaming service. Initially available in beta testing in November 2019, the service was later made available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate customers on September 15, 2020. The Game Pass cloud gaming is free for Ultimate subscribers.
Xbox Cloud Gaming Getting Better Performance
Xbox Cloud Gaming, which appears to be a natural fit for PCs that lack the power to run the games themselves, has been available on Windows for a few months via web browsers, but it’s a nice step forward that the service is now available in a native app rather than being confined to a web browser on PC. It still necessitates the use of a Bluetooth or USB controller as well as an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership. It’s also worth mentioning that, while Xbox Cloud Gaming is no longer available only to Insiders, Microsoft is still classifying the service as a beta, so your mileage may vary.
Remote Play is also a great inclusion, allowing you to stream games from an Xbox Series S or X, or an Xbox One, to your Windows machine. According to Microsoft, the feature is available either locally on your home network or remotely via the internet, however you’ll likely get better performance if the game is running locally on the same network. Microsoft has also updated some capabilities to Remote Play: the firm claims that you can now stream games in 1080p 60fps and that you will be able to play “select” games from the original Xbox and 360. The Verge has asked Microsoft for a list of the titles that will be supported and will offer an update if they hear back.
How does Xbox Cloud Gaming work?
Xbox Cloud Gaming works by connecting your device to a remote cloud server. This server runs the game and interprets your inputs in real-time, giving the impression that you’re playing it natively on your device.
Input latency is obviously constrained by physical constraints. Microsoft suggests a minimum internet speed of 7-10Mbps, however, faster connections may produce better results. Other factors, such as your location in relation to the nearest server, may also have an impact on performance. To play a game, simply launch the mobile app and select a title. It isn’t available on non-mobile platforms (for the time being), although you do have several alternatives for input devices.
Where Xbox Cloud Gaming available?
Xbox Cloud Gaming is now available in 22 countries across the world. It should be noted that Xbox Game Pass is not accessible in every country. Here is the whole list:
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
Alternatives to Xbox Cloud Gaming
Although Xbox Cloud Gaming has a fantastic selection of titles, it may not be the ideal option for all gamers. At 720p, the streaming quality is rather limited, and not all devices are supported. Here’s a quick review of the greatest cloud gaming platforms available to give you a better understanding of what’s available.
Google Stadia was ultimately announced during the Games Developer Conference in 2019 after years of development. A few months later, on November 19, 2019, the service was officially released for early adopters. You can buy and stream individual games, or you can sign up for a “Stadia Pro” subscription and play a selection of games for $9.99 each month.
Stadia has several significant advantages over Xbox Cloud Gaming. First and foremost, there is a “free” version in which you only need to purchase the games. There are also a few completely free games on the platform, however, they will only be available in 1080p. Another advantage is device support. Stadia supports streaming on mobile devices, browsers, smart TVs, and, in certain circumstances, smart refrigerators.
Nvidia GeForce Nowa
Nvidia GeForce Now is another Xbox Cloud Gaming alternative that was among the first to build a name for itself in the market. It enables users of macOS, Windows, Nvidia Shield TV, and Android to stream high-quality PC games from their current PC libraries on Steam, Origin, and other marketplaces.
You can access Nvidia GeForce Now for free, but you can only play for an hour at a time. Nvidia also provides a premium subscription for $4.99 per month that removes time limits and allows ray tracing and other features. You must, however, commit to a six-month subscription.
In addition to Nvidia’s initiatives, Sony offers PlayStation Now, a cloud gaming service. Since its inception in 2014, the service has grown to include over 650 PS2, PS3, PS4, and PS5 games that may be streamed for a monthly charge. On the other hand, Sony removed PlayStation Now compatibility for a number of previously supported devices. In 2017, this included gadgets such as smart TVs and the PlayStation Vita. It is no longer compatible with PlayStation consoles or Windows PCs.
Furthermore, new games aren’t added until years after they’ve been released. For those new to the ecosystem, it can be a wonderful way to burn through the back library of PlayStation exclusives, but for longstanding fans, it doesn’t provide as much value as other platforms. It is one of the cheaper Xbox Cloud Gaming alternatives on the list, costing $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year.
The Amazon has been working on a future cloud gaming service under the code name Project Tempo for some time. Amazon Luna, as it is now known, began an invite-only test in late 2020. At the moment, the program provides more than 50 games for $5.99 per month. For the time being, quality is limited to 1080p 60fps, but Amazon has announced that it will add support for 4K gaming in the future.
Luna, like Amazon Prime, will provide additional channels that will allow you to access even more games. For the time being, the only channel available for subscription is Ubisoft Plus, which costs $15 per month.
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So you’re aware that Xbox Cloud Gaming and xCloud, as well as Xbox Remote Play, are now officially available on Windows. That being the case, I am sure you are really enthusiastic about the prospect of playing these games on your window. There are also some alternatives to these games, so if you want to play them, choose any of them and play the game that you like.