Xbox has claimed a stake in the cloud gaming industry with adding the ability to play a wide variety of Xbox games on their cloud gaming platform that is currently in beta. With Game Pass already being a great deal for Xbox and PC games, how well does Microsoft pull off the cloud gaming aspect? Let’s find out.
Signing up for Xbox Game Pass
There are a number of Game Pass tiers that you can subscribe to but to get access to play their cloud game library, you need to subscribe to the Ultimate tier. Thankfully if you haven’t subscribed to game pass before, you can get your first month for a whopping $1. After that it’s $15 a month but you can’t go wrong with this introductory price.
After signup, Microsoft is going to want you to download the Xbox app to play Game Pass games on your PC. You don’t have to do this at all if you want to play cloud games exclusively. Just go to Xbox.com/play and sign in to get access to all the Xbox cloud games available. You can also download the Xbox app and try playing the cloud games on there but we have more success through the browser. If you are on an iPhone, you can add the pseudo web app to get access. If you are on an Android, you can download the Game Pass app to stream the cloud games.
Not all the Game Pass games are on the cloud but many are. This includes many of the EA Play games that are in Game Pass as well. Out of all the exclusive cloud gaming platforms we have reviewed, this library of games are some of the best games to have ever been released on a cloud gaming platform. Heck, they some of the best games Xbox has ever released – period. This spans from Original Xbox games to current day games that constantly get added like Battlefield 2042 (10 hour trial) which is part of EA Play and HALO Infinite that will be released on Cloud on day one.
Xbox Cloud Performance
So the question is, with the wide variety of games on this platform, does the Xbox cloud gaming beta perform well?
With Microsoft having one of the best cloud infrastructures in the world shy of Amazon and Google, the platform responds pretty well to input controls. It responds best if you are near one of their server points. Out of the three platforms, Luna, Stadia, and Xbox Cloud, I would have to say that Xbox Cloud is the worst of the three. But that could be because Microsoft doesn’t have datacenter located in Ohio like Google and Amazon do. You might have a better response if you are closer to once of their datacenters than me.
Another thing too is that the Xbox Cloud Gaming platform only allows controller input which means you need a controller to play games on this platform like mimicking a console. Sorry mouse and keyboard PC master race. Good thing is that the controller doesn’t have to be an Xbox controller – just a gamepad that is compatible with the platform you are on.
So how are the graphics? The Xbox cloud gaming platform uses a proprietary system so that it can run old and new Xbox games. It does this pretty well and displays games at 1080p and up to 60 fps. But if I had to be honest, Stadia, Luna, and especially GeForce Now look better graphically. I’m not saying it looks bad because it doesn’t but compared to the others, I would have to put the video encoding at the bottom of the list out of the four I just mentioned. Not by much though.
You want to play with your friends you say? Online multiplayer is in full swing with the Xbox cloud gaming platform. Xbox Live is included with Game Pass so you can play with other Xbox players and other platforms if the game you are playing supports crossplay.
Looking to play with your friend who is sitting next to you? I’m sorry to say that Couch multiplayer is a different story. As of now, we were not able to play any local multiplayer games with additional controllers connected. This was a major bummer because there are a ton of great local multiplayer games on the list that you can’t play together. Hopefully, they will get this fixed soon because every other cloud platform we reviewed supports couch multiplayer and it would be great to play old Xbox games that were awesome to play with friends.
Overall, the Xbox Cloud Gaming part of the Xbox Game Pass, has a great start to providing a great cloud gaming service. It does need some work to get it to be an excellent service. That’s probably why the service is still in beta. I have a feeling it might take some time for the service to come out of beta and get a full release.
The amount of games that is part of the cloud version of Game Pass is probably the best library I’ve seen with any cloud gaming platform. Plus, if you don’t want to use the cloud platform of Game Pass, you can always download a game on cloud gaming platforms Shadow or Maximum Settings. Definitely makes the $15 a month worth it.
I hope they increase the resolution down the line. 1080p is suitable for now, but if cloud gaming is going to replace conventional gaming, this is a must. GeForce Now just launched their RTX 3080 tier which is killing it with their support for 1440p resolution on desktop, 4k on SHIELD TV, and 120 fps gameplay. Game Pass might have the game but if Microsoft wants to be a cloud dominate platform, their graphic systems will have to improve.
Other than these issues, the platform plays nicely. We look forward to the improvements Microsoft will make and we’ll make sure to inform you when they do. If you are interested in various games and crossplay for this platform, feel free to check out the Xbox Cloud playlist that we have.
In the meantime, make sure to like this video and subscribe to keep on top of everything cloud gaming including the Xbox cloud gaming platform. So keep it tuned right here at the only place where you can do battle in gaming heaven – Cloud Gaming Battle.