Xbox xCloud game streaming copies Stadia's best feature

Microsoft's Project xCloud streaming service borrows one of Stadia's most innovative features.

Published Tue, Jun 23 2020 3:23 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:43 AM CST

The upcoming Xbox game streaming service Project xCloud will mimic one of Stadia's most transformative features: Click-to-play gaming.

Xbox xCloud game streaming copies Stadia's best feature 5 |

On the surface, Project xCloud is set to absolutely annihilate Google Stadia. xCloud simply has a better value proposition. It will be an extension of Game Pass, complete with all-you-can-stream games on phones, consoles, PCs and laptops, and it'll also let you stream games you already own and connect directly to Xbox LIVE. Rather that starting from scratch like Google is with Stadia, xCloud lets you message and play with your friends wherever you are.

And now Xbox boss Phil Spencer confirmed xCloud will utilize the massively innovative click-to-play feature that will open a new dimension of access. This is absolutely huge for the instant-access versatility of game streaming service. With click-to-play you'll basically be able to click a link on Facebook or Instagram and jump right into a game without downloading anything.

"In the meantime, we will continue to invest time, energy, and resources to bring Project xCloud to global scale through Azure. We're always testing new features and learning, and we're excited to explore further as we look to debut click-to-play scenarios within the Facebook Gaming and Instagram communities," Spencer said in a recent blog post.

Xbox xCloud game streaming copies Stadia's best feature 4 |

It probably won't stop there. Project xCloud subscribers might even be able to create their own gameplay snippets as interactive game demos that you can share with friends and literally let them play the segments, sort of like Stadia's incredible save state sharing feature.

Dylan Cuthbert from Q-Games said this about Stadia's save-state sharing click-to-play feature: "With a new technology called state share, developers can let gamers instantly share a playable moment from a game."

This could include:

  • The world state
  • The player's position
  • Items they're carrying
  • Anything the developer wants to pack into a sharable moment

But there's one thing xCloud doesn't have: It's own social/streaming platform. That's where companies like Google and even Amazon with have the upper hand.

Microsoft is killing Mixer in July because the service simply wasn't worth keeping around. Mixer never took off like Twitch did. Mixer is dead and Microsoft is moving to Facebook Gaming and Instagram. Mixer was to be the bedrock for community engagement, and would've served as the YouTube equivalent to Stadia.

Streamers could've provided links on their streams that viewers could click and jump right into the game. We could've also seen screen mirroring and much more baked into Mixer.

Right now it looks like all the major players are missing key pieces of the pie. I know what they're trying to do--marry a platform, streaming service, and gaming infrastructure together to provide long-term subscription revenues, monetization, advertising, and much more in a kind of massive synergistic ecosystem--but none of them have the strong points.

  • Amazon has Twitch, the leading streaming platform, but it doesn't have games (Amazon is making its own streaming service codenamed Project Tempo, and it'll be a big, big deal).
  • Microsoft has the games, content, and massive cross-platform gaming infrastructure, but they don't have a social/streaming platform of their own (hence why they're using Facebook's).
  • Google has YouTube, an incredibly powerful platform, and Gmail for sharing, but it doesn't have the games or the ecosystem set up.

As time goes by we'll continue seeing these companies borrow ideas from each other and execute them in their own ways.

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Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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