[GUIDE] : Stadia vs xCloud, the comparison, what is the best offer in 2020? Part one

It’s 2020, and playing a video game isn’t just about spinning a disc in your console and pressing the power button anymore. Instead, we now have digital downloads and more recently game streaming services that let you instantly start playing the latest titles without having to install anything or make an à la carte purchase.

Two of the biggest game streaming services – Google Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud – are still in their infancy, and each of them promises unprecedented freedom and ease of use for gamers. They will certainly compete with each other, but when it comes to choosing between Google Stadia and xCloud, which promises to be the most impressive service? Here’s what we know about them so far.

How does Stadia and xCloud work?

There is no console or dedicated box needed to play the games on Google Stadia or Project xCloud, but the two services do not work identically either. Depending on the systems you have, one or the other might seem like the best choice, especially if you have a preference in the games you play.

Google Stadia is designed to work with your Chrome web browser. In the first tests as “Project Stream” it could only be used on desktops, but you can now use it on devices like phones and tablets. Since it uses your Google account, this theoretically means that you will be able to stop playing a game on your PC and start playing on your phone in just a few moments.

Currently, Stadia supports TVs via Chromecast Ultra as well as pixel phones and a selection of other devices. A February 2020 update adds support for several other devices, including Samsung Galaxy S8 or newer phones, the Razer Phone and Razer Phone 2, as well as the ASUS ROG Phone and ASUS ROG Phone II. The full list of compatible devices can be found here.

Microsoft’s xCloud doesn’t seem to offer that level of transparency, but since the technology is based on the existing Xbox infrastructure, you’ll be able to transport all your backups and data to the cloud on the devices you use for the xCloud and your others. xbox games. If you play a game on your Xbox One at home and then go away for a week, you should be able to stream it from your phone while you are away. This is where one of the others advantages of xCloud comes into play: you will be able to use your own Xbox console as a server to stream games. This includes any games you have purchased for your Xbox, and you can do so without paying a subscription fee.

During its preview period, xCloud supports Android devices running version 6.0 or newer and iOS devices running iOS 13.0 or newer. Players have been invited after registering and an invitation is not guaranteed. The program will be supported on Windows 10 PCs and Android phones and tablets, with more planned for the future.

Stadia controllers vs xCloud controllers

Google Stadia’s freedom of choice approach continues for the controllers the platform will use. You are free to use multiple popular gamepads you already own, especially the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller and the manettes Xbox One et Xbox Adaptive Controller from Microsoft. Mouse and keyboard are also supported.

However, for more platform specific interactivity, you can use the Google Stadia Controller. In terms of form factor, it sits somewhere between the Xbox controller and the PlayStation controller, with a similar arrangement of buttons and controllers, and has a share button. It also includes a Google Assistant button that lets you speak into a microphone and get tips for your games on the fly. The Google Stadia controller is connected to the platform via Wi-Fi (instead of Bluetooth) and will net you $ 69.99.

xCloud works a little differently. Using a Bluetooth connection, you can pair a standard Xbox One controller with the device of your choice and play the games using the same control scheme you would have on your Xbox console – in the demos the controller is mounted on a phone to do this. However, the games will also feature touch-sensitive control interfaces designed specifically for those who don’t want to carry a controller with them. We saw Sea of ​​Thieves use this type of input in a demo, and it mapped the actions to virtual buttons on the screen. You can even use a DualShock 4 controller to play Xbox games if you’re a freak.

Note that the first use of Xbox One controllers was not compatible with Bluetooth. The way to find out is to check the plastic surrounding the Xbox button on the top of the controller. If the plastic is connected to the buttons on the bumper, it is an older controller that does not have the built-in bluetooth function. If there isn’t an extra piece of plastic around the Xbox button, it means it’s newer and compatible with built-in Bluetooth.

In short, both streaming services offer some flexibility in which controllers you can use – with a few slight differences. Fortunately, most of the more popular controllers will work with each department.

Streaming quality

Google and Microsoft don’t promise the same streaming quality on their services, at least as far as resolution is concerned. This is hardly surprising, as Microsoft’s Xbox consoles continue to be the preferred destination for 4K and HDR gaming.

Google Stadia supports 4K games with HDR and 60 frames per second, and will drop to 720p resolution for those with slower internet speeds. In the future, it could achieve a resolution of 8K and 120 fps, but it may not be for a while. The GPU that Google uses in its data centers achieves a power of 10.7 TFLOPS, almost double that of the Xbox One X. To run games at 4K, gamers will need speed. Internet of 35 Mbps or more. In our testing on Google Stadia, we found that the quality of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was good, but not as impressive as if it had been run on a console.

Through the “Streaming Capabilities API” included in what Google has called the “Playability ToolKit,” developers have live access to a player’s streaming capabilities, including HDR, surround sound, and audio. resolution. This will allow them to adjust game settings on the fly, providing the best possible settings for gamers.

Additionally, product manager Khaled Abdel Rahman addressed latency issues with Stadia at Google’s I / O, saying the team has weekly research sessions in addition to larger-scale testing. The team strives to find a balance that works with the many inconsistent factors in each player’s situation.

Microsoft did not give details on resolution goals for xCloud, but it will use its own 54 Azure data centers to power the service. Given that the service is due to launch for Android in less than a month, it is concerning that Microsoft has not clearly defined its visual goals – which could be a sign that it will not look as good as its competitors, at least at launch. Due to the local Bluetooth connectivity, and assuming the service has low latency, it should give gamers a comparable experience to what they get on the Xbox One or PC, but for now, that’s not. is not yet clear.

What gamers might not get, however, is an experience on par with upcoming PlayStation and Xbox systems. According to Frederik Schreiber, vice president of 3D Realms, the PS5 and Xbox Series X systems will be much more powerful than the Stadia in particular. We already know that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will have 8K support built in, which is already a leap ahead of what stadiums can do right now. In addition, each of the next generation systems will be equipped with a ray tracing system and will be able to support up to 120 frames per second.

Stadia games vs xCloud games

Google Stadia currently offers several games, and hundreds of them will be available by 2021 and beyond. Developers can register to request development for Stadia on the official developer website. Stadia supports multiple game engines, including popular choices like Unreal and Unity.

Players can use Stadia’s “State Share” feature, which serves as an invitation link to the supporting game.. Clicking on the link will take you to a specific point in the game, wherever it is saved, and you can access it from any device supported by Stadia. It’s like an enhanced version of a save state, but with added benefits.

Rime’s Tequila Works studio was also present when the announcement was made, so they will likely be involved. Larian, the company behind Divinity: Original Sin 2, is also developing Baldur’s Gate III, but it’s not exclusive. Along with third-party games, Google is also launching headlong into game development with Stadia. Jade Raymond, former producer of Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, runs Stadia Games and Entertainment, a first-party studio dedicated to producing exclusive titles for the platform. There are currently over 100 games available for Stadia, and there are plenty of AAA titles planned for the platform, like Cyberpunk 2077.

xCloud will not receive any exclusive games, at least not those that are not also available on Xbox consoles and PCs. This means that you will be able to enjoy the same games as someone playing Xbox games on a console or PC and vice versa. If you choose a service that you can have more unique experiences based on, Google Stadia seems to be the first winner here, assuming you’re not looking to play Xbox games. However, many Xbox games – especially the exclusive games – are games you won’t want to miss.

With this in mind, Microsoft is strengthening its first-party game development studios, with the recent acquisitions of Obsidian Entertainment, Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games and Playground Games, as well as the creation of The Initiative. We will not yet see the fruits of the work of these studios, but it does point to some exciting possibilities in a few years. The platform will launch with over 100 games, including games not found in stadiums like Devil May Cry 5 and Halo Wars 2.

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