The Xbox Cloud Gaming service doesn't seem to be all that popular, at least according to information revealed during the Microsoft vs. FTC court hearings.
At cross-examination, Xbox corporate vice president Sarah Bond revealed that Xbox Cloud Gaming is one of the least popular features on the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription tier, and is effectively running at a loss.
"What we’ve found is that it’s really being used by our players as a feature for the console," stated Bond, in reference to the Xbox Cloud Gaming feature.
"Because what people can do is when you go in to start playing a game, instead of waiting to download it, you can start playing it right away while it’s downloading in the background, and that’s actually the majority of the usage of xCloud gaming today, is it’s just a console feature." (thanks, IGN)
Xbox Cloud Gaming is primarily being used directly on Xbox Series X|S consoles, then. And another of Bond's comments shed light on why that could be the case: "The games that are being streamed are games built for the console, but they’re being streamed to a different device, so it’s not always the best player experience."
One of Xbox Cloud Gaming's primary features is that it allows players to stream the best Xbox Series X games to other devices without the need of a console, or the requirement of downloading the game to storage. It's an effective way to keep your game going if you're heading out of the house.
Streaming to console has its benefits, as Bond says. It's a great thing to do if you're keen to check out a game before committing to downloading it, especially if your console is low on storage space.
Though Bond is correct in that streaming to a device that isn't the console itself can throw a spanner in the works. Input lag and connection quality are already major issues when it comes to cloud gaming. Streaming that over Wi-Fi to a phone only exacerbates that.
Microsoft isn't the only corporation facing scrutiny in the industry right now, either. In other news, Twitch has introduced Hype Chat, a controversial new feature that pin's paid messages to the top of a streamer's chat window.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.