Forget Google Stadia: Xbox Game Pass leaked upgrades put It to shame

game pass project xcloud
(Image credit: Microsoft)

It looks like Microsoft isn’t resting on its laurels with Project xCloud – the streaming technology that lets Xbox Game Pass subscribers play a selection of titles remotely. 

First, Windows Central has heard from “trusted sources” that the improvements to the Xbox cloud streaming servers are showing solid results, with resolution getting bumped from 720p to 1080p. Here’s a screencap sent with the developer overlay showing all the pertinent stats. 

Your quality, of course, may vary. Just as how Netflix may go a little soft if your internet connection suddenly slows, xCloud may bump your resolution down if it’ll help performance. That’s what Windows Central found when they tried the same test and were locked in a more disappointing 720p, reasoning that they were simply too far from a data center running the 1080p test.

Streaming from the xCloud test app

(Image credit: Windows Central)

The bump to 1080p brings Microsoft’s offering in line with Google Stadia’s free tier – though that service is facing its own very public teething troubles with the closure of its two first-party game studios and a limited number of triple-A titles currently in the schedule.

But Microsoft isn’t finished there. The Verge has managed to get its hands on an internal test of the Xbox Game Streaming app for Windows, and found some interesting changes. Not only does the app add support for home streaming from Xbox Series X and S consoles, but it introduces xCloud streaming to Windows PCs. 

The Xbox Series S and X support works in the same way it does for Xbox One: you can wake the console remotely, sign in and then play games on your Windows desktop, laptop or tablet. 

Interestingly, Microsoft seems to be considering the specific issues with the latter, and it now includes touchscreen support that lets you play games without a controller. Not only that, there’s reportedly also an option to enable gyro controls – albeit it's an option that currently doesn’t seem to do anything when activated. Still, it’s clear that the company is looking into ways of ensuring tablet players don’t need to prop their device up when playing. 

Not to be completely outdone, the PS5 has a version of this called Remote Play, which lets you stream from PS5 or PS4 to Android, iOS, Windows or MacOS over WiFi or LAN connection (you can even stream from PS5 to PS4 if you feel like wasting electricity). PlayStation Now also lets you stream a selection of PS2, PS3 and PS4 games for $9.99 a month, but there’s no support for phones or tablets at the time of writing. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.