Since this Tuesday, September 15, xCloud is officially available in France.
The Cloud gaming service allows you to play more than 150 Xbox games from your smartphone; thanks to “the cloud” of course.
xCloud, how does it work?
The promise of xCloud is, according to Microsoft, “to no longer have to
stay on his couch to start a game of Halo or Forza ”. The service allows you to launch one of the 150 games available in the catalog, directly on your Android smartphone.
However, to enjoy xCloud peacefully, it is imperative to meet certain preconditions.
First, note that only Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service subscribers have access to xCloud. The subscription allows, for € 12.99 per month, to enjoy Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold, in addition to various great discounts on games and other benefits.
Play via xCloud on Android
To play from a smartphone, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber must have a smartphone running Android 6.0 (or higher), and download the Xbox Game Pass application from the PlayStore.
The latter will make it possible to manage the Xbox Game Pass catalog on Xbox One, as on PC, but also to launch a game directly on a smartphone, via a new “Cloud” tab.
To play, it is also imperative to have a compatible controller, such as the Xbox One controller of course, or the PS4 controller. Bluetooth and wired controllers are compatible. Note that Razer and 8bitdo, to name but a few, offer a selection of certified accessories and controllers to make the most of xCloud. Finally, some games, like Minecraft Dungeons, have a touch interface dedicated to mobile gaming.
Obviously, to enjoy xCloud serenely, it is also essential to have a sufficiently high speed to avoid any form of disconnection, latency and other graphics problems. Microsoft therefore recommends a connection of at least 10 Mb / s.
Play xCloud on iPhone
On iPhone, the procedure is much faster… Since xCloud is simply not compatible with Apple smartphones. The very restrictive conditions of the AppStore indeed prevent Microsoft from offering the Xbox Game Pass application on iOS.
xCloud on iPhone, maybe one day, but not right away …
xCloud: Xbox streaming, how does it work?
Recently available in beta, we tested Microsoft’s xCloud cloud gaming service, which will soon be included with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Tested so far by a very small panel of handpicked users, Microsoft’s xCloud cloud-gaming solution has recently become available to (almost) everyone. Indeed, before its official launch on September 15, the service has been offered for a few days in the public beta phase.
xCloud already within everyone’s reach?
An application that allows you to list all the content offered by the Xbox Game Pass, on Xbox as on PC. For a few hours now, a new tab has been added: “Cloud”. It is the latter that provides access to Microsoft’s cloud-gaming solution. For now, around thirty games are available, but more than 100 games are expected on September 15.
In this regard, xCloud is not an “Arcade” type service, with only small independent games designed to be played on mobile devices. On the contrary, the game allows you to play Xbox exclusives like Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, Crackdown 3, Halo Wars, the two opus of the Ori series, ReCore… To this are added other titles like A Plague Tale: Innocence, ARK Survival Evolved, Hellblade, Streets of Rage 4… Very beautiful people then.
Note that this beta phase of xCloud only works via the WiFi network. Impossible to play in 4G therefore, even if the mobile network will indeed be supported on September 15, on the occasion of the general public launch of the service. Now see what will be the consequence of xCloud on data consumption …
And in real life, how does xCloud work?
Concretely, once in the “Cloud” tab, it suffices to select the desired game, and the application then offers two choices, namely “Play”, or “Install on the associated Xbox console”. By clicking on “Play”, after a longer or shorter load depending on your network connection, the game can be played directly on the smartphone, without any installation. This is the magic of cloud gaming.
The xCloud is offered via the new “Cloud” section of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate application
Obviously, you must first pair an Xbox controller (Bluetooth compatible) with your smartphone to fully enjoy the game. Various accessories will be available very soon, to transform our smartphones into real small portable Xboxes.
As for the gaming experience itself, it will depend on the quality of the network. With my “small” connection (16 Mb / s and 1 Mb / s) in Wi-Fi 2.4 Ghz and gaming sessions on a OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, the experience is very correct for now, but we does not escape some concerns in terms of display, or even a small latency in the controls.
All this of course, provided that the game wants to start well, this beta phase still showing its share of errors, with titles that sometimes stubbornly refuse to launch. The general experience is already very pleasant despite everything, with of course the possibility of starting a game on xCloud, to continue it in the evening on the living room console, the backups being synchronized in the cloud.
xCloud, the future of video games?
If Google Stadia has also been offering a cloud gaming solution since the end of November 2019, we have to admit that the service offered by Microsoft is (already) significantly superior. Indeed, attached to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the xCloud is intended to be a “complement” to the Xbox experience. A bit like Amazon Prime Music or Amazon Prime Video (and the new Prime Gaming) are placed as “bonuses” to the Amazon Prime subscription.
In this way, on September 15, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber will not only be able to enjoy the games in the catalog on his Xbox, multiplayer play via the included Xbox Live Gold, but he will also be able to decide to play nomadic mode via the xCloud offer (soon) integrated into its subscription.
Thus, if for many, the gaming experience is inseparable from a 4K screen and an audio system worthy of the name, these same players, sometimes (very) resistant to cloud gaming, may necessarily be tempted to launch such and such a such title on their smartphone. Obviously, on the immersion side, the nomadic game is far from equaling the living room experience, but the excellent maneuver on the part of Microsoft is that the xCloud will be positioned as a “bonus”, and not as a new full-fledged subscription.
As an example, and on a purely personal basis, I would not have subscribed to a monthly xCloud offer, preferring to indulge in video games on the Smart TV in the living room, a good headset on my ears. However, being an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, I was necessarily seduced by the idea of launching a particular title on my smartphone, doing a little Streets of Rage 4, doing a few laps on Forza Horizon 4 or to revive the first Ori, and we have to admit that it is quite pleasant.
Of course, the experience is not always perfect (remember that it is still a beta) and depends greatly on the quality of the network connection, but it is still very appreciable to play “on the go” to real Xbox games, with the added bonus of taking into account backups or Achievements. In short, as much to say that by September 15, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate may well prove to be even more essential than it is already for all holders of Xbox One (and soon of Xbox Series X).
Project xCloud: you may be able to play your Xbox titles without a controller on mobile
For several months now, Microsoft has been testing its cloud gaming solution, Project xCloud. Several users have suggested that you can leave the controller at home when you want to play on mobile. Microsoft takes note and works on the subject.
Play in the cloud on your smartphone without the hassle of a controller? It might be possible. As part of the GDC 2020 dematerialized Game Stack conferences, several people from Microsoft’s xCloud team have announced that they are studying several solutions so that developers can pilot games streamed only from the smartphone’s touchscreen.
A sizeable challenge and a feature demanded by players who are currently testing the service, mainly on the screen of their mobile. Walking around with a controller in your pocket is not always possible.
The same game on different “screens”
Between the interface of a game designed for the touch screen of a mobile and that of a console or PC game (which is played with a joystick or keyboard / mouse), there are big differences.
Thus, the developers of Microsoft are working on several solutions. Superimpose the control interface on the image, as retro emulators do, for example, while reworking it to be mobile compliant; or else, run the game in almost windowed mode so that it does not occupy the entire display area and have the buttons all around it.
Several application libraries and tools adapt the game display according to the screen size. Microsoft would try to adapt this to all the ergonomic part to then provide almost turnkey solutions to developers who can, finally, adapt them on a case-by-case basis.
How do I stream with Xbox Project XCloud?
Microsoft has officially launched its large streaming video game platform announced during Xbox conference at E3 2019. In order to compete Google Stadia, Xbox has just developed a unique streaming.
The principle is that we can play on your xbox from their smartphone or tablet. The first phase of tests had been launched in recent months in the United States, South Korea and the United Kingdom. In 2020, Microsoft wants to propel Project XCloud in the entire Europe. This streaming game service is still largely in the launch phase but it is possible to access the streaming console platform. It is therefore possible to participate in the start of the Xbox Project XCloud by following a few steps:
How do I sign up for the Xbox Insider Hub?
Connect to your Xbox and download l’application “Hub Insider Xbox” from the store. Then complete the necessary information. Then answer a few surveys on Xbox services to earn experience points and thus validate your involvement in the programme Hub Insider Xbox.