, eager to check out how it felt and if there was any perceptible latency or sluggishness. Microsoft said the games were all being hosted on their Azure data center in the Bay Area, which is approximately 400 miles away.
Overall, just like with my demo of Google Stadia, Halo ran pretty much just as I’d expect it to run, since they wouldn’t be showing it if it was broken or had issues. Gameplay was smooth, graphics looked pretty darn great, and it was exactly what you would expect to see if you tried streaming Halo from your Xbox to your Android phone.
I did notice some artifacts when I paned back and forth quickly, and when I asked Mr. LaChapelle about this, he chalked it up to being on “trade show Wi-Fi.” Specifically, he said they were using a 7.5Mb/s connection, which is on the slower side for a Wi-Fi connection (my home connection is 120Mb/s), and also less than the 25Mb/s Google said it needed to stream its content at 1080p/60.
For what it’s worth, Microsot said the content being beamed to the demo phones was running at 720p, and to my eyes, it looked pretty good despite being “low res.” I asked LaChapelle about plans to also stream content at higher resolutions like 4K, and to more devices like TVs, and he just said it’s a “multi-year project,” so we can expect more info about those features at a later date.
Overall though, xCloud certainly offers a lot of promise. It pretty much works as advertised, and once Microsoft fleshes out all the details it has the potential to add a ton of value for Xbox One owners, especially if it ends up bring a free add-on. None of that is known at this time, however, as Microsoft hasn’t even chosen a name for it (xCloud is just the project name, not the actual name). Microsoft promises more details to come, and with rumors of Amazon wanting to enter the game streaming space, this market is about to get really, really interesting.
Josh Norem is IGN’s Executive Editor for Tech. When he’s not upgrading his PC he’s managing Gertie’s social media accounts.