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Microsoft's xCloud hands-on: Does Halo 5 really have a phone?



Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian / Stringer

Microsoft did not reveal the secret of the fact that it was developing game streaming options, and in this year's E3 Xbox meeting, it gave players their first real glimpse of how it will work. Of course, there are two offers in the offer – an all-streaming service still built under the xCloud Project codename, and another option launching the October open trial called Console Streaming.

The latter opens own Xbox own players One is consoleed on servers, streaming their own game library with them, while xCloud is likely to be more like Google Stadia – a recurring cloud based service. More details on both versions will come in the next few months, but Xbox shows how it can work in practice behind a Xbox Showcase scene.

Xbox showed several streamed games, not running on standard large screens found around the E3, but rather in a class of smartphones, each connected to a conventional Xbox controller One with a grip bracket. They are the full full version of Xbox One games, with no changes to accommodate in smaller screen sizes. The Xbox said games were running on them – Gears of War 4, Resident Evil 7 and Halo 5 – flowing from an Azure data center of 400 miles away, and in a hybrid model where the server Blades marks an Xbox One console that performs the newly-announced Console Streaming functionality.

Playing The Gears of War 4 in the set-up is a bit slow, but may be more psychosomatic than a service defect. The weight of the controller and the attached bracket to support the phone, combined with Gears games favoring the clunky characters heavily armored, can create the impression that experience is more slow than this.

Resident Evil 7 is ultimately a difficult title to show xCloud on. That is not a reflection of the game itself, or even the service, but the environment. The Xbox Showcase takes place in a bright auditorium, with overhead lighting and background noise that produces fuzzy, horrid horror games that are almost invisible, and the embarrassing sound design is not heard.

Halo 5 however, shows the potential streaming of games, and the ability to have the ability to play any device capable of displaying the stream. Playing through a single-player campaign section, the controls are as responsive as I expected, the characters transferred to the speed and fluid I used, and the game looked sharp as ever – more little more.

In general, this is a surprisingly smooth experience, except for some minor artefacting during the & # 39; Elevator in Hell & # 39; mission to Gears 4 with distant blocky backgrounds if you still stop.

A common problem with all three games is that screen texts designed to be read on a 55-inch screen are reduced to barely-readable pixels on a smartphone. These questions over the impact of streaming may have throughout the gaming industry, especially when the phone is running.

Games like Halo 5 are designed for blockbuster experiences. They work well on a huge screen and surround sound, not pocket screens with tiny speakers. At the level of the machine, how to maintain a multiplayer match if played on a phone? Latency issues may be overwhelming, but you will not be aware of the situations that are being provided by real estate on a TV screen. Or & # 39; y Resident Evil 7 – this is a modern horror classic by any measure, one that reinvigorated the franchise. It does not matter if it is played from a disc, a digital download, or a stream, the material itself is unpredictable, a dark pleasure – whether it's on a large TV screen or monitor. But it's hard to imagine any situation where playing such a tense, absorbing title on a phone is desirable.

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It is amazing to think that players respect the purpose of the creators, and even do not want to play AAA games on their small phone screens. But the truth is, for many people, that their phone is the screen they have spent for the longest time. The same argument is made for the movie – no one wants to watch a blockbuster on a 5-inch screen! – And now you can now download the entire movie via Amazon or Netflix on your pocket device. If players start spending more than their time playing Xbox main games on their phones, developers will begin to design to accommodate streaming on the phones in mind?

Obviously, not all streaming games will be on the phones – arguably, the phone-based showcase is a bit of a tech flex over anything, allowing Microsoft to show the sheer potential of delivering high-end content to a device that can not run it natively. There is also great streaming potential for games that can be too big for other means of serving content – this console generation alone, we see Red Dead Redemption 2 clock around of 120GB to download, and future titles are just wolf sizes.

Microsoft's showcase shows that the backbone for streaming can survive, despite minor issues. If kinks can be ironed at the time of the Console Streaming launch in October, there is a strong base for experimental players, allowing them to be trustworthy – it seems – access their games when they are away they are in their Xbox. But when it comes to streaming phones, what we have seen today is a good example of why just because you could do something probably does not mean you should . [19659015] More beautiful stories from WIRED

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