Xbox Cloud Gaming on iOS - an update

Discussion in 'General Game Discussion and Questions' started by squarezero, Mar 27, 2022.

  1. squarezero

    squarezero Moderator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver

    I was one of the lucky few who managed to snag an Xbox Series S on launch. What sold me on the Microsoft ecosystem was GamePass — it’s simply a fantastic value and a great opportunity to try classic games and titles that are not usually in my wheelhouse. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best value in (console) gaming.

    So when Xbox released the beta version of their Cloud Gaming iOS browser app, I was first at the door. We have only one TV set in my house (with two other people in my household), and the idea of playing my GamePass collection on my iPhone or iPad was a no brainer — especially since you get to share progress between console and mobile. From the get-go, though, it was a big disappointment: even with what was supposed to be a great internet connection, I found most games to be unplayable in the cloud — stuttering, unresponsive messes. It wasn’t just an Microsoft issue either: I had the same issues with Stadia and Luna. GeoForce NOW was better, but still not ideal. As far as I was concerned, cloud gaming on Xbox was a big bust, with a constant “bad signal” icon as a visual representation of my frustration.

    All that changed earlier this month, when Microsoft released a “big update” for their cloud service. And let me tell you, it’s night and day. Now, I can only speak to my connection, which has always checked out as very strong. But Cloud Gaming has become a fully viable option on my iPhone, especially when paired with a Backbone controller. Over the last few weeks I’ve put hours into Lucky’s Tale and, more recently, Tunic, with no stuttering or (as far as I can tell) input lag. Both games look great on an iPhone screen (though I suspect they’re not quite playing at full resolution). Essentially, my iPhone/Backbone has become a micro Xbox console, at least as long as I play close to WiFi. And that’s pretty awesome.

    If, like me, you gave up on Xbox Cloud Gaming early on, it’s probably time to give it another go. I’m curious to hear if other folks have seen an improvement, even if it’s not remarkable.
    JasonLL and Echoseven like this.
  2. JasonLL

    JasonLL Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2014
    #2 JasonLL, Mar 28, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2022
    Xbox cloud has been steadily improving at an extremely fast rate. I remember using it for the first time ten months or so ago and it was way behind Stadia for me. Tried it again around five months ago and it was much better. The last time I tried the Xbox cloud was a few months ago and it was very close to Stadia with just a bit more noticeable input lag but I wrote on the xcloud subreddit “that it’s now very close to Stadia’s performance”. I haven’t tried the newest update to the Microsoft cloud but it doesn’t surprise me that Microsoft is hustling like they are with their cloud service to rapidly improve it.

    I have no doubt Microsoft sees cloud gaming as the future even if that future is a bit distant and not yet noticeable by the majority of console users. Cloud gaming in general has been so satisfying on my older 10.5 inch iPad Pro.

    The things / improvements I want in the future for Xbox Cloud Gaming (Xcloud) besides improved performance are:

    • Purchasing games through the Xbox Cloud service: I remember reading somewhere that Phil Spencer said that purchasing games through their Cloud service was an inevitability and it’s just a matter of time but I’m definitely looking forward to it when this feature lands. Especially for games with a large amount of DLC. I wouldn’t be too happy if I purchased all the DLC for Stellaris and then a few months later the game was removed from rotation.
    • Free to play / try without gamepass: Much like Stadia and GeForce Now have a way to play a few “free to play” or trial games using the service without having to subscribe to the service. In the early days of Cloud based services getting the user more comfortable with the experience is key and having no commitment or barriers to entry is vital.
    • Games arriving same day as retail: Another feature that I one hundred percent believe Microsoft is going to pull off with their first party titles (even if it’s purchase only during the first few months for select games before landing on gamepass ultimate or an even cheaper sub just for their cloud service)

    Overall Microsoft is doing great things with Xcloud / Xbox Cloud.
  3. squarezero

    squarezero Moderator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver

    I see where you’re coming from. But for me, the beauty of GamePass is precisely that I don’t have to buy the games. In fact, I can safely say that I will never buy a cloud-only game. Now, I wouldn’t mind playing games that I bought for my Xbox over the cloud (GeoFORCE Now style), but the Stadia model of individual game purchases is a non-starter for me.

    I haven’t tried Stadia in a while, but it used to be fairly unplayable in my 150+ mbps connection, just like Xbox’s cloud service — not sure why. I assume that it’s better now than it was back then.
  4. JasonLL

    JasonLL Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2014
    #4 JasonLL, Mar 29, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2022
    I still think it’s great to have the option to purchase games outright especially when you have a subscription service that rotates games in and out. They’re also gamers that are “purchase only” and want their games to always be there without the fear of removal after X amount of time has passed. Having the balance of both a subscription and purchase is the best way to go.

    Personally I’m in the middle in that I don’t mind certain games rotating in and out but others I would want to be a permanent fixture in the cloud service.

    As far as Stadia it has always been very solid for me but it’s important to remember that with any cloud service it all depends on each individual setup, which varies greatly, and location. What works flawlessly for one person may give issues for another.
  5. adamphetamine

    adamphetamine Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Programmer/3D Modeling
    Bethlehem, Pa
    I’ve been mainly a PlayStation gamer up until this gen when I switched to Xbox and bought a Series X, eventually a Series S too. I have a ps5 as well but don’t play it much. GamePass on my iPhone with backbone is great, literally a portable Xbox. I haven’t had any issues with cloud gaming either so I use it constantly.
    Talbs and squarezero like this.

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