Since the lockdown, there has been an increase in the number of people playing online games and different companies are reinventing the wheels with big tech brands like NVIDIA, Google and even Microsoft all joining in to take a bite.
The latter’s own game streaming platform called the Xbox Cloud Gaming and formerly called xCloud (we’ll still call it xCloud for simplicity sake) is how Microsoft is pallning on taking hold of its own share in the market. Given how you can’t buy an Xbox Series X right now (or maybe you can), this is probably the next best thing, but it has some limitations. The good news is that most of those limitations are going away with new features and improvements in the works.
The first of those improvements is the fact that Microsoft is making a Windows app called Xbox Game Streaming. This Windows app not only will allow you to stream your games from the cloud and deliver the xCloud experience to devices and computers running Windows 10, but it will also allow you to stream games from your own consoles as well if you have either an Xbox Series S or an Xbox Series X, although this last feature isn’t yet functional in this (very rough) unreleased version of the app that The Verge got their hands on.
Though the application isn’t something new as it was uncovered back in 2019, Microsoft is still actively working on making it better. The improved xCloud experience will deliver a cross-platform game play to both users of Windows PC while also being compatible with ARM devices meaning that you will be able to play your games on your always-connected laptop or tablet as well. This app will also pack in features such as touch support (which will allow you to play without a controller) and gyro support (although this one seems to be broken too).
Then there is the 1080p streaming support which is an improvement over the current 720P on the xCloud experience but the limitations to the HD resolution support could be for smaller displays and smartphones but majority of these features will be dependent on your network capacity and speed.
Other competitors such as Google Stadia already support 1080p streaming, so Microsoft is playing catch-up in this regard. At the same time, most of Microsoft’s server infrastructure is based on Xbox One architecture, and Microsoft is set to switch over to Xbox Series X architecture over the course of this year, so 1080p streaming might be one of the first results of those changes.