Microsoft’s Project xCloud is making its way across the Canadian border. Now Canadian players will have the chance to take part in Microsoft’s version of the cloud gaming boom. Over 50 titles are available to stream directly to your phone or other internet-connected device. The Canadian arm of testing starts on Jan. 29 and players can register now for access.
With cloud gaming hitting a new high, it’s interesting to see Microsoft come to the table. When Google and Apple first announced their cloud gaming services, it was an intriguing idea considering neither company had delved into gaming before. Microsoft is a big player in the console wars with the Xbox. Seeing them jump into the cloud gaming market gives me the sense that they can bring something new to the table.
Cloud gaming as a concept is a little crazy. PC gaming has hit a high in recent years, and the console world was shaken up with the release of the Nintendo Switch. Now all of a sudden you can play your favorite Triple A titles without breaking the bank — as much. The main thing I like about cloud gaming is the accessibility. Aside from not needing special hardware, cloud gaming allows you to play anywhere you can get an internet connection. Imagine gaming while on the bikes at the gym. Right? RIGHT?
That said, streaming a game in HD means you would have to keep a pretty consistent connection. Any lag will have an effect on any and every aspect of the game. Controls will register late, your reactions will be impacted, and your experience could easily be ruined. Just imagine how you feel when you lag in an online game.
I’m wondering how companies are pulling it off. Streaming at this kind of volume isn’t unheard of, but current streaming platforms aren’t taking constant input from all their users at once. The kind of resources you would need to process all those inputs and requests accurately and consistently is daunting. The bigger the company, the more servers, the better hardware they deploy – the smoother the experience for all. That’s the dream, anyway.
Being able to play what you want, where you want opens a new realm of possibility for the mobile gamer. No longer confined to mobile games, you can play all the newest releases straight from your mobile device. If you travel often enough that dropping hundreds on a console isn’t viable, cloud gaming is a good alternative.
If you’re a big gamer with a pre-existing setup though, you may want to look at some platform-specific game streaming apps. Xbox and Playstation have their own android apps for streaming games from your console, and Steam has Steam Link. From my experience, the Playstation and Steam apps work really well. I’m not proud to say I used them during class in college, but I definitely did — almost snuck a controller in once, just to play Spider-Man.
Regardless of how you play your games, it’s clear that streaming them is becoming a stronger option every day. As long as your network is strong enough to support it, you’re good to go. Have fun paying for gigabit internet and a 5G connection, though.