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Google Stadia works, but Microsoft xCloud already feels the future of cloud gaming



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Project xCloud is a cloud gaming service.

James Martin / CNET

Google Stadia is open for business and the battle for excellence in cloud games has already begun. But with Stadia's hectic deployment, it seems that in fact, a beta version of Project xCloud from Microsoft as a cloud gaming service is still under development.

Cloud games – services that allow users to play games running on a remote server – ensure that no matter where the player is, he can stay in touch with the selected game platform. Sony was an early player with the PlayStation Now service in 2014, but it was Google that shocked the situation when it introduced Stadia at a game developers conference in March. Microsoft has followed the example of the announcement of its cloud-based gaming service Project xCloud at E3 2019.

I spent practical time on all three services, and out of three I was thrilled with Microsoft cloud games for one simple reason: in fact, this solves the real problem.

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Stage on the big screen TV.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Out of memory is a problem gamers have to deal with. The Xbox One console has a 500 GB or 1 TB hard drive, and large budget games, such as Halo 5: Guardians, can occupy 100 GB. Every game that you buy physically or digitally must be installed on the console’s hard drive in order to play it. For me, this is a library of nearly 200 games (and this does not include another 200 games available on the Xbox Game Pass). Project xCloud with unlimited space allows me to access these games without having to install them.

Instead of downloading the game I want to play on a whim, Microsoft's streaming service allows me to play Xbox One games on my Galaxy S10 Plus with a $ 25 Bluetooth controller that I bought over a year ago, all without any Any hassle while I'm on high-speed Wi-Fi.

Stadia, on the other hand, does not give me a solution, only more problems. For example, I already have a gaming computer with a Steam account, which has access to many games that I can play from the streaming Valve application, Steam Link. Adding a new platform to Stadia means that I have another digital store, other than Steam, that requires a separate purchase (or ransom for games that I already own).

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At the moment, to play on a Stadia TV requires additional equipment – Chromecast Ultra. Currently, game prices are higher than on other platforms, and since I don't have a Pixel phone, my only portable option is a laptop. The current 22-game game list is less than half what xCloud promises. Most new and relevant games are also missing. Instead, Stadia offers the old Tomb Raider and Destiny games.

Of the three services, Project xCloud just worked better in my practice testing. Stadia worked great when I tried the beta last year, but I had noticeable spikes in the delay when I tried it recently. On the other hand, while I have good Wi-Fi, I have not seen much delay with Project xCloud.

The xCloud project already gives me what I need, and this is only in beta. Microsoft already has plans to expand its capabilities and include it in the Xbox Games Pass. If there is a “Netflix for video games” service that could become popular, then it’s almost Microsoft.


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