A new opponent has come to face Google Stadia or Nvidia GeForce Now in the field of streaming games: Microsoft Project xCloud. The new platform is already tested in Spain. And we were able to test it: the experience it shows is very positive, both for the quality of the transmission and for the variety of titles included in this first test.
We had months of rumors, also confirmations and, even, we were able to register to request access. Recently, Microsoft decided to give access to xCloud in Spain, the new streaming platform takes a step towards its commercialization. offering a closed trial and by invitation only. And today we had access; so we did not waste time installing the application on our Android to test it. And the experience couldn’t have been more positive, always with a few nuances (and logic).
Console games even on Android not very powerful
The best thing about game streaming platforms is that allow its use even in devices that do not have enough graphics capacity enough to start titles with a high processing load. Microsoft Project xCloud is no exception to this principle because it works on a large number of Android devices regardless of their scope. Of course, the best is to have a sufficiently large screen with a resolution of at least 720p: the visual experience is very positive.
As we said, Microsoft Project xCloud testing has already started, but at the moment it’s not an open beta as it requires an invite. The application process for the initial phase is now complete, but Microsoft will launch invitations in the coming months: You must request access from this link.
To play xCloud, you need an Android mobile, an Xbox One Bluetooth controller, a 5 GHz WiFi connection with sufficient speed and minimum latency, and the Xbox Game Streaming app. Of course, it has some nuances: we tested the games with the PS4 controller connected, also with the Nvidia Shield controller, and the app and these games work fine. The Xbox One controller is not essential, but it does have issues when playing with another synced Bluetooth controller – not all buttons are mapped correctly, such as those for exiting the xCloud menu. We tried several games and didn’t have too many problems.
Despite the fact that Microsoft specifies that only the Xbox One controller is valid, we have verified that other controls are working, such as the PS4 or Nvidia Shield
Once the Android application is installed on the mobile and the controller is connected, all you have to do is start the Xbox Game Streaming and register the Xbox account, the one that was used to request access to the beta (an invitation is required, we remember). Microsoft Project xCloud’s current catalog is overwhelming, all with full games built into the test. There are already classic titles, like Borderlands; sports, such as Forza Motosport 7; And, it could not be missing, also exclusive to Microsoft, like Halo 5. Everything with immediate start by clicking on “Play” and without any configuration: the game runs after the command and always on Microsoft servers, not on mobile.
Streaming without excessive cuts
We’re used to playing on Nvidia GeForce Now and Google Stadia, so we can compare performance using the same computers with Microsoft Project xCloud. The game experience is similar: High graphics quality, smooth animations and no excessive loss of frames (Yes, we saw a point slow down), imperceptible latency, stable resolution and no loss of detail (still in 720p), the audio is also set to a very high average (in some games there may be a point distortion).
We were really surprised by the current behavior of Microsoft Project xCloud, it’s almost like playing with a desktop console without the mobile heating up at any time. For our test we used a Xiaomi Mi Note 10, a Samsung Galaxy A71 and also an Nvidia Shield 2017 TV, in all three devices we got similar sensations. Streaming is not yet completely stable (the app warned us of packet loss despite a 600 Mbps symmetric fiber network), although this aspect can be forgiven by Microsoft since xCloud is still in testing and won’t let forget that connections are compromised by high data usage during containment.
This first test impressed us. Firstly, due to the overall quality of the streaming, also because the app has been found to work less restrictively than Microsoft claims (It works with different controls than the Xbox One and is suitable for Android TV despite the fact that it is not officially compatible). The minimum latency makes us forget that we are playing streaming, it is very similar to what we experience when using competition (Stadia and GeForce Now). And there is one aspect that adds remarkable value to xCloud: its catalog of games. It’s impressive.
A huge catalog, the best asset of xCloud
Microsoft took advantage of the xCloud beta to offer a catalog of games that mixes Xbox Game Pass with other titles available on its consoles. This provides a set accessible at the click of a button that It has no comparison with what is currently available to stream. Not only because of the number of games it supports (Nvidia GeForce Now has more, although it loses developers), but also because all xCloud games are included in the package. In other words, you can play almost 100 games in this first test. without paying anything: all are included. Quality, recognizable and majority in the AAA category.
Playing a Forza Motosport 7 on an Android with limited power is a feat, also enjoy titles like Halo 5 or Soul Calibur VI: with high quality, at a resolution fair enough for the moment (it’s at 720p) and without noticeable delay between pressing the button and moving the screen. In addition, all game achievements are saved to the Xbox account and multiplayer is also activated without the need to purchase Live: xCloud offers a truly complete all-in-one.
The games catalog is extensive, with a wide variety of styles and everything is included in xCloud: you don’t have to buy them separately
Access to the application involves immersing yourself in a large library of playing styles and proposals for the majority of the public. Gunners, driving games, simulators, strategy, puzzles, fighting games and much more, Microsoft has achieved a tremendous balance of quality and variety. And that can be fully tested in this testing phase: having an invitation is a little treasure.
Verdict: a tough opponent in the streaming war
Run Tekken 7 on an Android mobile
We tested Microsoft Project xCloud and this first feeling was very positive: having a real console on the phone is an advantage that only streaming can offer. There are still some disadvantages to polishing, such as higher resolution or occasional skipping in playback, but this is understandable as the platform is still in the testing phase and has just expanded to more territories than the old one, the United States and South Korea.
Running Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Android TV
The catalog to which xCloud provides access is impressive and far from the competition, in particular because all games are included and do not have to be purchased separately. Almost any Android can run the app and on top of that the use of commands other than Xbox One is also possible – all of these tricks add huge value to the platform.
xCloud also works with mobile data, but you have to be careful: 10 minutes of gameplay equals around 500MB
If you can try Microsoft Project xCloud, we recommend that you do so: the service works great. You may have to wait to gain access, but you can request your invite to get it when Microsoft expands the space. It’s worth it.