When you look at the recent technology news, you will find the name of a technology giant that frequently appears in our vision: it releases new games at the E3 game show; launches a new desktop operating system, Windows 11; and goes online again. Xbox game console.
That's right, the above is Microsoft. Recently, it has moved frequently, like a giant who has been sleeping for many years suddenly awakens. Every new news affects the nerves of the technology circle.
No, Microsoft has a new move.
The Xbox Cloud Gaming cloud game service, which has been closed and tested in April of this year, will be officially launched on June 29. The service is currently only open to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in 22 countries and regions . It can be used with a browser. Play most of the content in the XGP game library with 1080P/60FPS specifications.
I happened to have an XGPU member in hand, so I experienced it on PC and iPad Pro for the first time. The following is about the experience of Microsoft cloud game service, the precautions and the sharing of XGP membership.
The game is fun and full-featured, provided that the internet is good
When I saw the news that the Microsoft cloud game service was officially opened, I sat in front of the computer, reflexively opened the browser, and entered xbox.com/play in the address bar to enter the relevant interface. After logging in to the Microsoft account, I was reflected What you see is the home page interface of Xbox Cloud Gaming.
The big word Beta in the upper left corner indicates that this service is still in the testing stage, which is equivalent to giving players a shot to tell users "If you encounter any problems during the game, please don't mind. If you can submit your feedback It's the best."
The interface style is the same as that of the Xbox console. From top to bottom, they are: New Tour Banner, XGP games purchased by this account, and game recommendations .
▲ Part of xCloud playable games
Simple comparison with the XGP game library on the XSX console, and found that most of the games have been retained, such as the "Halo" series, "Gears of War" series, "Resident Evil 7", "GTA 5", "Longyu" series , "Extreme Racing: Horizon 4" can be played, and there are about 260+ games available to play.
Open Horizon 4 at will, without installation, go directly to the loading interface of the spacecraft, wait about 20 seconds (affected by the network speed), the XSX startup screen will be displayed, and then the cutscenes of Horizon 4 will start to play.
Next is the moment to witness the miracle, we have entered the Horizon 4 game. Because I have a play record of this game on XSX, it will sync archives and other data first when playing in the cloud.
After officially entering the game, I realized that I was too happy. The picture signal was severely lost and the delay was extremely high. It took at least 3 seconds to press the button to respond to the picture. It's simply not a success. I didn't expect this experience to be over so soon.
▲Looking at this mosaic picture, I can't talk about it anymore
▲ The static promotion page in the game is displayed more clearly
Don't worry, let's try other games again.
The next test game is "Control Control". This is an action-playing shooting game with excellent graphics, which tests the cloud's ability to suppress delay and packet loss.
In the same network environment, the control performance is much better than that of Horizon 4, the screen loading speed is faster, and the network delay is relatively low. It is estimated to be down to about 300ms, which is still not playable.
▲ There is a noticeable delay from when I press the left trigger to when the picture opens
▲ Picture comparison between cloud and XSX local games
Finally, there is a bird's-eye view action PRG game "Dark Blood: Genesis". After experiencing the baptism of the above two games, I didn't have much hope, but I had unexpected gains. I didn't expect it to run well in Genesis. , The texture loading speed is fast, the operation delay is controlled within 150ms, and occasionally, the characters may even appear to be stuck. However, this situation is rare. It only appears once in ten minutes of game time, which is acceptable.
▲ In addition to the network delay, there is also the delay of the Bluetooth connection
Considering that Microsoft Cloud Games is still in the public beta, the platform itself has been optimized quite well, and crashes, disconnected controllers, and slow loading have not occurred. However, domestic players are still facing serious network environment problems.
When exiting the game, a prompt to submit feedback will pop up. The system provides multiple categories and several options under the categories. Players only need to check the problems they encounter. Of course, friends who are good at English can provide more detailed text explanations.
The above is the experience on the Chrome browser. After switching to Edge, there is no big difference. The performance of the picture and the delay is basically the same. The card is still a card.
Just when I was about to give up and felt that domestic players could not experience Xbox Cloud Gaming well, I suddenly remembered that I purchased an accelerator member some time ago. I was curious whether Microsoft Cloud Gaming could perform better with the help of the accelerator. Happy to see that this accelerator has the Xbox Cloud Gaming acceleration service, just like seeing a silver light shining behind a dark cloud, I opened it decisively and entered the xCloud service through the official webpage it provided.
You can feel the difference immediately after entering the game. The screen loading speed has become faster, and the visual delay has dropped to about 120ms. The above-mentioned control and dark bloodline: Genesis has become a playable state. As long as the network fluctuates little, the screen and frame rate will not change significantly. , You can keep playing.
The image quality of the horizon is still not good after acceleration, but it can basically hit where it is.
At this time, the picture quality is not absolutely necessary. Fluency is what I want most for "cloud players".
From this point of view, the performance of Microsoft's service on the PC side has gradually approached the ideal form of cloud games that people imagined: full-featured, remarkable graphics, as long as the network is not so hip, you can get a good gaming experience.
Thin and light laptop users can also open the laptop and turn on the accelerator during a business trip, and then enter Cloud Gaming to immerse themselves in the new strange story of "control". There is no need to consider the computer configuration, and the process of downloading and installing games is eliminated, and the heat dissipation is not heard. The noise produced when the fan spins wildly.
▲ It’s a magical thing to play "Outer World" with a browser
Some time ago, I wrote about the performance of the iPad Pro 2021 in gaming and entertainment. At that time, an idea was to play a 3A masterpiece on the iPad Pro, which will greatly expand the application scenarios of the iPad Pro. The implementation method mentioned in it is through Xbox Cloud Gaming.
I didn't expect this day to come so fast, so early.
After trying Microsoft's cloud game on the PC, I also want to try it on the iPad Pro.
First, I compared the performance of the Safari and Edge browsers. Unfortunately, only Safari is left in the end. Because the Xbox controller cannot be used normally on the current iOS version of the Edge browser, I quickly gave up testing on Edge. The following is based on Safari to get the iPad Pro play experience.
Open the xbox.com/play page again, log in to the Microsoft account and successfully enter the home page interface. Unlike the PC web page, there is also a touch area in iOS. Microsoft has organized some games that are suitable for touch play. .
Enter any game work, then jump to the game introduction interface instead of the game loading page.
▲ iPad browser game introduction page
▲ PC game introduction page
Click the "Get ready to play" button, and a prompt to create a desktop shortcut pops up in the lower right corner. Just do it, and there will be a shortcut entry printed with Cloud Gaming on the desktop.
This is good, it can be regarded as a separate applet. After clicking it, you need to log in to your Microsoft account again. The subsequent experience should be like playing on the PC side. However, on the iPad, an accelerator does not provide an entrance to Xbox Cloud Gaming. When there is no way to speed up, the network environment becomes severe again, and the gaming experience is greatly reduced.
▲ The screen ratio is not adapted to the platform
After I personally experience it, it is currently not recommended for domestic players to try Xbox Cloud Gaming, and it is not recommended to open XGPU membership for the sake of early adopters .
But I will give it 7 points at the current stage: the current platform performance optimization is acceptable, there is no major problem with compatibility, and the picture quality has obvious room for improvement. Although the number of games cannot be compared with the console version of the XGP game library, it is compared with others. Compared with competing products on the cloud platform, Microsoft's resource reserves are still very capable.
However, due to the complexity of the network, Xbox Cloud Gaming is currently not suitable for domestic users, and there is no good solution in a short time.
Precautions before the experience
Unlike LAN streaming control Xbox, Xbox Cloud Gaming realizes cloud gaming by using a customized version of Xbox Series X console to perform graphics operations, and then through Azure cloud services to transmit the image signal to the player, whether it is a PC or iPad, it does not work. Local computing.
The effect of the game is determined by the level of the screen configuration set by Microsoft and the pros and cons of the player’s network environment. The former is constrained by the latter, so in the end it depends on the network speed. If the Gigabit network and 5G network are basically popularized, Microsoft is naturally willing to open 4K/60FPS or even 4K/120FPS image quality options. At that time, it may provide a separate charging option for high-end players to choose.
The minimum Internet speed requirement officially promoted by Microsoft is 10Mbps. From my experience, at least under a 100M network, the accelerator must be turned on to allow domestic players to obtain a relatively ideal game effect. The requirements are harsh enough to dissuade domestic players. Some users.
At the moment, if you want to play the 3A masterpiece of the Xbox camp, the best choice is still the Xbox Series X|S game console.
In addition to the network, another problem that stumbles players is how to open the XGP service. Xbox Cloud Gaming is one of the services in the XGPU membership system, and opening XGPU membership has become a prerequisite for experiencing cloud gaming.
Although XGP members are good, please do your best
Here I also introduce the XGPU membership service to those who are mentally prepared and still want to try xCloud.
Xbox Game Pass (XGP for short) is a game subscription service launched by Microsoft in 2017, which includes free game library, EA Play membership, regular game rights, xCloud cloud game service and more.
I opened an XGPU member in Hong Kong, China. The early adopter price of the first month can be opened for only HK$10. You can settle with credit card, Alipay and Paypal. After opening, you will get a two-month membership. After the third month, every month The membership fee is 119 Hong Kong dollars (approximately RMB 99). If you shop on the e-commerce platform, you can also buy the XGP redemption code at a lower price.
The charges in different regions are slightly different, but the rights and benefits enjoyed are basically the same (except for the rights and interests of restricted areas).
XGP currently has about 385 console-side games and 275 PC-side games (the number continues to increase), many of which are well-known major productions such as "Halo", "DOOM", "Radiation", and "Metro". XGP users can directly access the console You can download the main body on the PC to play without paying extra (except for DLC content). After that, works from Xbox First Party Studios and Bethesda will first land on XGP. The rich game content alone is worth the price. .
▲ XSX console game content
As of April this year, the number of XGP users has reached 23 million , and this number is still rising.
It takes time to play 3A masterpieces in the cloud
Before that, I also tried some domestic cloud gaming platforms, such as NetEase cloud gaming, Tencent START cloud gaming, because the services are based on domestic local, the network experience is much better than Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming, and there are few cards. In the case of Pause and High Ping, there is no need to use an accelerator.
Their shortcoming lies in the game resources. They are all mobile games. There are very few games that can be called 3A level, which greatly discourages users who are originally interested.
On the other hand, Microsoft, which has been deeply involved in the game industry for many years, hadn't spent a lot of money in recent years to acquire studios and game publishing rights, in exchange for more and more game content to enter the XGP membership system, how could it attract so many users?
The major domestic companies do not lose in terms of technical capabilities and have localization advantages. However, what they lack is the control of large-scale game resources. As a result, they suffer from the domestic players caught in the middle. I hope this situation can be achieved as soon as possible. With improvements, we "cloud players" can usher in a real spring.
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