Beginnings are shaky for Google Stadia as Microsoft’s xCloud aims to topple poor Stadia reception with its own cloud services.
Microsoft confirmed its upcoming Xbox Project Scarlett console at its E3 2019 keynote with the promise that cloud gaming would be at the new console’s core. During the presentation, Xbox chief Phil Spencer gave attendees a glimpse of xCloud’s capabilities.
During a part of the presentation, Microsoft introduced a new “Console Streaming” feature. It characterized xCloud as a standalone cloud gaming service. Console Streaming would transform users’ Xbox One consoles into personal cloud servers. That would ultimately give players remote access to all of the titles they own on their smartphones or tablets, right? Well, we’ve seen how it shouldn’t be done with Google Stadia.
What is xCloud?
Players are already able to enjoy over 50 Xbox games on their mobile phone or tablet directly from the cloud with Xbox’s Project xCloud preview. Microsoft states that there will be “No waiting for downloads” and makes this bold claim even for mobile phone connections.
“Project xCloud will work over either a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection that supports 10Mbps-down […] If you are using Wi-Fi, we recommend using a 5Ghz connection.”
Registration made simple
Have the above? Well, Microsoft is allowing users to partake in the Project xCloud preview by visiting the link here. Simply follow the steps to get an invite. Although Microsoft will warn you that the preview is limited and that it can take up to a few months to be selected, chances are you’d be accepted in no time at all. It took less than a day for my registration to be confirmed.
It should be clear that you do not need an Xbox console, Xbox profile or a live subscription on Xbox to join Project xCloud, something which Microsoft has doubled down on stating in their FAQs:
“Nope! All you need is a compatible mobile device and Xbox controller with Bluetooth support. If you don’t have an Xbox profile or a Microsoft account, you can create one during the registration process for free.”
Officially, the preview is first available only in the US, the UK, and South Korea.
Will Project xCloud beat Google Stadia?
As mentioned in previous articles, Stadia just hasn’t hit the mark now for a fully-fledged online cloud gaming service for both hardcore and mainstream consumers. Should this change, however, we will keep you updated.
So, what’s stopping Project xCloud from being a Google Stadia 2.0? Well, right now, Microsoft has time. With preview registrations and beta in progress, Microsoft has an opportunity to really get this right and perhaps learn a few things from Stadia’s launch.
Microsoft seems keen to use its huge pool of resources towards allowing gamers to play when and where they want, with whomever they want. Ambitious yes – but – it can be done. Beta impressions right now are generally very positive, far outweighing Stadia’s actual release. Even if we look at the starting lineup of games, Microsoft’s limited preview already has twice as many titles as Google’s final product.
Of course, xCloud isn’t without its issues. Nevertheless, it seems like Microsoft has been taking correct steps to better its final product before releasing it. That's a good sign and in sharp contrast with Stadia’s rushed attempt to be first in line to reach the clouds. Unfortunately, the only thing Google has done so far was hitting, well, a wall.