The desirable imagination of what it would be like to play Xbox on the go has reached a breakthrough. The Xbox Game Pass has officially initiated its beta testing phase for iOS devices. This allows iPhone and iPad users of the current generation to finally join in on the Xbox action. But after trying out the service for a couple of weeks, is it worth investing time and money into it? How is it overall when it comes to graphics, frames, resolution, and consistency? Here is our review of the Xbox Cloud Gaming platform’s beta phase for iOS.
Xbox Cloud Performance and Appearance: Starting Off Right
First and foremost, the platform‘s general performance is good, to say the least. Keep in mind that the service is currently in beta, so expect to run into some bugs. But as the initial introduction of Xbox on iOS mobile devices, it’s off to a great start. Upon starting up Game Pass, I immediately noticed just how quickly it loaded up the games, no matter the size. I tested out a few different titles, and they all booted up and ran fairly well. Since the games are being streamed, there will be a decent share of lags and game-breaking bugs. While this is irritating if you’re deep into gameplay, loading Game Pass back up was just as fast as the first load.
When it comes to graphical consistency with gameplay, it’s hard to not be impressed by the overall presentation. Any game I played looked spectacular on my iPhone. There is an obvious small drop in quality to what you can expect from Xbox One X and Xbox Series X|S consoles, but that’s expected. If you have a good stream while using your wi-fi, you’re going to get the best of the best in resolution. If you’re really on the go (for a small trip to the gas station or on vacation), I wouldn’t recommend connecting at all.
When my Old Man picked me up for an errand, I decided to try out the service on mobile data. What I experienced was something similar to a game completely breaking down before you because of a horrendous server. With just a minute into gameplay for DOOM Eternal, Halo MCC, and Clustertruck, my connection became so interrupted that I lagged through every match and jump. Eventually, it would just give out, and the service would basically kick you out of the game if it can’t reestablish a strong connection.
Audio Bits and Input Rips with Xbox Cloud Gaming
I really see myself playing some games to pass along the time. In truth, it might not be wise to delve into a new game with the hope of excellent audio. The audio is a great issue that sincerely doesn’t help with the first beta tests. For every game I played (DOOM Eternal, Halo MCC, Clustertruck, Descenders, Shadow Warrior 2, State of Decay 2, and Grand Theft Auto V), there was always a ticking drumline in the audio. Whether it was an explosion, musical kick, or dialogue, the audio would tick, tick, tick, to the point where I had to make sure it wasn’t my phone. Gladly it wasn’t, but sadly is the case for the Xbox cloud beta phase for iOS.
Aside from the annoying audio ticks, the games’ sounds stay alive with the active gameplay; a plus, considering that I experienced copious amounts of lag. Despite the negatives here, it was still awesome to hear the audio from various games without resorting to a TV and couch.
While the Xbox experience for iOS still needs a big hand in fixing the stream consistency, it’s a big step. We always wondered what Microsoft would do if they created their own handheld gaming device. Sony had the PSP and its variants to complement their blockbuster home consoles; Nintendo was always on top with the Gameboy, but they truly own the spotlight with the Switch. But what about Microsoft? Well, we might never have an official device, but having their games be available near everywhere is a decent trade.
Xbox and Mobile Controllers for iOS
With a sturdy clip, you can connect your Xbox controller to the iPhone. If that’s not how you roll with social gaming and being outside, you can always purchase a compatible mobile controller. Microsoft actually advertises the Backbone One and Razer Kishi on their website, so they’re definitely doing some serious investing. I personally purchased a GameSir X2 for the service and this review. This is where I wrestled with some input lag with the platform.
To see if it was just the GameSir, I connected my Xbox controller to my iPhone and witnessed the same thing. In a nutshell, whether you’re using a mobile controller or the Xbox one, you will experience input lag. At the most, it is delayed by a half-second, but that half-second could mean life or death for whatever game is going on. That’s why I don’t recommend playing multiplayer titles just yet. I’m confident that this is just a beta hiccup, but save yourself the stress and embarrassment by going casual.
There is a lot of potential for Xbox Cloud Gaming on iOS. The wide range of readily available titles is overwhelming unbelievable. The sole fact that I can take my Xbox gaming on the go is an exciting one, but the service still needs some fixing up. Of course, it is still in beta, so bugs are expected, but there are too many to wrongfully encounter. It becomes tiresome and also maddening that I can’t play every game without experiencing audio and stream issues. Down the line, the service will be out of beta, but we don’t know exactly when that’ll take place. But for now, it’s a good way to catch up on some gaming if you’re far from home. Be sure to just stick with easy-going and casual games until the multiplayer titles are polished though.
- Play your favorite Xbox titles on the go with Game Pass
- Streaming quality can be amazing with a wi-fi connection
- Fast loads
- Convenient mobile gaming
- Audio issues
- Lagging can lead to a dead stream
- Input lag becomes problematic for non-casual gaming