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The folks at Ars Technica spotted a notable upgrade to Xbox Cloud Gaming today. According to them, the servers powering Xbox Game Streaming (which lets you play Xbox games on your PC or phone, via cloud processing) are now capable of streaming games at the same frame rate and resolution as the Xbox Series X.
This is a big step forward for Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming service, which seems to be Microsoft’s big play to get a broader window of players interested in the Xbox platform.
While Xbox Cloud Gaming has grown notably over the last few months (and will apparently be usable on older Xbox One devices), its technical performance has lagged behind Xbox’s proper consoles, partly to combat the latency challenges of taking inputs from the player side to a server, and then sending back gameplay video that accurately responds to those inputs.
Microsoft hasn’t formally announced these upgrades yet—and Ars Technica notes that a number of Xbox Cloud Streaming games can’t seem to take advantage of the new servers—but that may just mean a more formal rollout is around the corner.
Closing the gap between Xbox Cloud Gaming and the performance you get on a physical Xbox device like the Series X means Microsoft can lure more users in with deals like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate—a subscription service that at its best, lets you play any game in the Game Pass library you want on whatever device you want.
That’s a strong proposition for the Redmond-based company, which has both been trying to establish a strong niche in the console marketplace and (more relevantly) combat a semiconductor-driven chip shortage that has limited production of the Xbox Series X and S.
If Xbox Cloud Gaming continues to improve in performance, the company might be able to worry less about shifting physical consoles, and put more effort into getting subscribers for its Cloud streaming service.