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We now have yet another serious entry into cloud gaming / game streaming with Microsoft formally launching Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) for everyone with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and it works out of the box on Linux.

Testing with Chrome, Chromium, Edge and Firefox - they all work, although the experiences differs. Firefox, for example, works but it's pretty much a slideshow and so completely unplayable in my testing. Anything Chromium-based however, appears to perform quite well.

Pictured - Rainbow Six Siege on Linux with xCloud

As someone who uses cloud gaming quite often, I've been really impressed with the technical side of Stadia overall. A little less so with GeForce NOW (GFN) as the game performance varies wildly there and so I was keen to try out Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) but sadly, it's currently pretty laughable. The games look quite good and seem to perform well enough but wow — that is some serious input lag. For cloud gaming, input lag is one of the biggest issues and Stadia / GFN have it down quite nicely but here Xbox Cloud Gaming has problems.

Often with Stadia, i can hardly tell it's not local. There is some input lag (there of course will always be some), but not noticeable enough to make the experience poor but here it's ridiculous. Even with Microsoft's upgrade to it using custom Xbox Series X hardware, and likely more server capacity for the wider rollout, the experience just isn't worth it. I could hold up a gamepad to the screen, push a stick or press a button and physically see things happen after, moving the camera in any first/third-person game felt awful.

Pictured - Rainbow Six Siege on Linux with xCloud

To ensure it wasn't a Linux problem, I double-checked on a Windows 10 install and no difference just to make sure it wasn't to do with some video acceleration issues. This was also tested across multiple different games, all felt just as bad with the input problems.

The picture quality is problematic here too. Very noticeable pixelation / artifacting when moving around a lot, which isn't seen on other services. Considering my internet line is direct to my router, on a ~550Mbps connection (the minimum they list is 10Mbps) - not good.

What's the takeaway? Well, it works out of the box across multiple browsers on Linux. Works but not exactly playable in my testing and so not worth looking into yet until Microsoft sort out the input lag issues. However, there's a big but here - but this may depend on where you are, some of you might see a much better experience - this is the big problem with cloud gaming that it needs to overcome. You can try it yourself on Xbox.com/Play.

So we now have Stadia, GeForce NOW and Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) that all work without any tweaks needed on Linux. Amazon Luna is the next, which is currently in a much more limited Beta but last we checked it needed browser overrides otherwise it prevents playing on Linux. The future of cloud gaming is already looking busy, as (internet / country permitting), it's another way to break down some barriers for those without powerful PCs.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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ArturW Jun 29, 2021
Playing Xbox Game Cloud has been working for 2 months. How lucky you are and have been selected for the Beta Test.
I was a bit lucky.
Below is a list of games and 2 games tested using the chrome browser:


04:12 Outriders Full Screen
08:20 An overview of all games in xbox Game Pass on Cloud gaming (Beta)
11:00 Play on mini Window
14:15 Forza Horizon 4 - Window
Caenth Jun 29, 2021
The only reason game companies chase streaming is because of piracy and consoles being too expensive. I'm not pulling this out of thin air: https://torrentfreak.com/sony-thinks-cloud-gaming-can-eliminate-piracy-and-consoles-210626/

Piracy is basically a non-issue anyway. Well, only reason some piracy exists still is because of DRM. Which they keep implementing themselves. Other companies have already proven DRM is not needed. The consoles being expensive; they all control their systems, so who is too blame? They keep pushing the graphics, more computer power is needed for that. Most good games are indie games nowadays and they don't use all that.

Just make good games instead of the shite lately AAA companies release nowadays.
OneSubtractOne Jun 29, 2021
Well, my experience echoes yours in regards to firefox, but in fairness it DOES say it's not a supported browser, so I can't really complain.
On the other hand, in chromium I can use my controller to get into a game, but as soon as the game opens all input is ignored. It looks like it's running nicely, the sound is smooth, but i can't actually play anything.

That said, I like the idea of this. Stadia is nice, but I find it lacking in games. You can buy almost anything, but then when google opts to shut it down, all those games will be gone forever. I hold out hope they WON'T do that, but I don't trust them enough to invest money into risking it. Nvidia is better in that regard, since you can own your games and just play them on their service but in my experience the actual gameplay is somewhat laggy, and my connection to their servers tends to be miserable. Microsoft though has a lot of pretty cool games available on the service, and I already pay for it for my Xbox, so it'd be great if it would work so I could just play right here on my computer.

So, I figured I'd try it with the stadia controller, not really expecting anything. Turns out it works fine with that one. No idea why, since I would have assumed xbox would work better with xbox. It played okay, a little bit of input lag, but not too terrible. I wouldn't recommend trying to play dead cells on it though. I'm bad enough already.

Last edited by OneSubtractOne on 29 June 2021 at 1:43 pm UTC
mcphail Jun 29, 2021
My experience with streaming services has been different to yours. I had to give up on Stadia due to the lag. GFN works well for me 99% of the time. Xbox cloud has been somewhere in between, with more issues with pixelation than lag. I'm on a "borderline" (really, below spec) connection for any of these services. I suspect the results are very connection specific.
Julius Jun 29, 2021
Sounds like a simple case of Google data-center located near you, Microsoft data-center not located near you?

Geforce Now is using AWS?
morbius Jun 29, 2021
I read this, check out the link, turns out Microsoft offers Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 3 month subscription for only $1. Ok, for that kind of money I'm willing to take a chance. So I subscribe and only then it lets me know that Xbox Cloud Gaming is not available in Greece. Oh Microsoft, what a peace of shit you are.
einherjar Jun 29, 2021
Perhaps they use too much Microsoft Software, so that it works that awful? ;-)

But anyways, it is good to have as much choice as possible. I just ask myself, when will Valve get it's ass off the couch and offers cloud gaming and game "flatrates"?
iiari Jun 30, 2021
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A shame your experience hasn't been good. Some reports I was reading online were quite positive, and seemingly from a gaming library and streaming model standpoint, XCloud has the potential to be one of the best. Glad it works on Linux!
BlooAlien Jun 30, 2021
Quoting: einherjarI just ask myself, when will Valve get it's ass off the couch and offers cloud gaming … ?

While Valve does not offer cloud gaming, they do offer a pretty solid streaming solution that I have found works fine over a WireGuard VPN tunnel. Sadly, setting up such a tunnel setup does (currently) require a bit of networking knowledge and other geeky skills to get running proper. The advantage once set up though is that I can play all my Steam games pretty much anywhere I have a tolerable enough Internet connection, as long as I've left my PC running at home with Steam up and running.
Appelsin Jun 30, 2021
if useragent = Firefox
then slideshow=1
else work-as-normal
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