Home / Technology / Touching XCloud from Microsoft: Does Halo 5 really make sense on a phone?

Touching XCloud from Microsoft: Does Halo 5 really make sense on a phone?

Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian / Stringer

Microsoft has made no secret of the fact that it has developed game streaming options, and at this year's E3 Xbox conference gave players a first real glimpse into how it works. There are two main aspects of the offering: an all-streaming service, still under the code name Project xCloud, and another option, which will be launched in October as console streaming in the open trial.

The latter will activate the player's Xbox One consolidates into servers and gives them their own games library, while xCloud is more like Google Stadia – a persistent cloud-based service. More details on both versions will be released in the next few months, but Xbox demonstrated how it can work in practice behind the scenes in an Xbox Showcase.

Xbox showed several streamed games that did not run on the usual large screens around E3, but on a series of smartphones that are each attached to a traditional Xbox One controller with a handle mount. These were all Xbox One full versions of the games, with no changes made to the smaller screen size. According to Xbox, the games running on it – Gears of War 4, Resident Evil 7 and Halo 5 – were mimicked from a 400 miles Azure data center and streamed in a hybrid model on a server-bladed blade an Xbox One console running the newly announced console streaming feature.

Playing Gears of War 4 in the setup felt a bit slow, but that could have been more psychosomatic than a mistake in the service. The weight of the controller and attached phone support bracket in combination with Gears games, in which heavily armored characters are preferred, may have given the impression that the experience was slower than before.

Resident Evil 7 was ultimately a bad title for xCloud. This does not reflect the game itself or even the service, but the environment. The Xbox Showcase took place in a brightly lit auditorium, with overhead lighting and lots of background noise that barely reveals the shady, claustrophobic horror game and its inaudible sound design inaudible.

Halo 5 showed the potential of streaming games and the versatility of being able to play on any device that can display the stream. Playing through part of the single-player campaign, the controls responded as expected, the characters moved with the speed and fluidity I was used to, and the game looked as sharp as ever – just a lot smaller.

It was a surprisingly smooth experience, except for a few small artifacts during the mission & # 39; Elevator to Hell & # 39; in Gears 4 where distant backgrounds blocked when you stood still.

A common problem with all three games was that on-screen text on a 55-inch screen should be reduced to barely legible pixels on a smartphone. This raises questions about the impact of streaming on the entire gaming industry, especially when phone streaming starts.

Games like Halo 5 are designed from top to bottom as blockbuster experiences. They work best with a massive screen and surround sound, not with pocket loudspeakers with thin speakers. How would a multiplayer match compete on a mechanical level if played on a phone? Latency problems may be overcome, but you would not have the situational awareness that the real estate of a television screen offers. Or take Resident Evil 7 – it's a modern horror classic in every sense that has revived the franchise. It does not matter if it is played from a disc, a digital download or a stream, the material itself is indisputable, a dark pleasure – whether it's on a big screen TV or on a monitor. However, it is hard to imagine such a tense, exciting title on a phone would be desirable.

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It's tempting to think that players respect the creators' authorization intentions and do not even want to play AAA games on their tiny phone screens. The reality, however, is that for many people their phone is the screen they spend most of their time on. The same arguments were put forward for the film – nobody wants to see a blockbuster on a 5-inch screen! – and now you can download entire movies to your Pocket device via Amazon or Netflix. If gamers start spending more time playing key Xbox games on their phones, will developers begin to consider streaming to cell phones? First and foremost, a bit of technical know-how that enables Microsoft to demonstrate the potential of delivering high-end content on a device where it can never be run from scratch. There is also great potential for streaming games that may become too big for other forms of content delivery – for this generation of consoles alone, we've seen Red Dead Redemption 2 download about 120GB and future titles will only be balloons.

Microsoft's showcase has proven that the backbone for streaming is feasible despite minor issues. If it can make up for the issues at the start of Console Streaming in October, there is a strong base for players to experiment with, so they can appear to reliably access their games when they're not on their Xbox. However, when it comes to streaming on phones, what we have seen so far is a good example of why, just because you can do something you might not . 19659015] More Great Stories from WIRED

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