Microsoft has confirmed that despite the processor differences, Project xCloud will be launching on ARM. It’s a largely expected move for a service designed to close device boundaries, but welcome all the same.
Previously, Microsoft said xCloud would come to Windows 10 next year but didn’t mention its devices with Snapdragon processors, like the Surface Pro X. Still, game streaming isn’t a whole lot different to regular video streaming, so this was an expected move.
The real news for users on Snapdragon chips is that they’ll be able to stream their games via 5G. This should translate to higher speeds and lower latency for an overall smoother experience.
Opening the Door to 5G Game Streaming
As it stands, I’ve tested xCloud on 4G connections and haven’t been particularly impressed. Even in unpopulated areas, there can be significant slowdowns and artifacts if your carrier hasn’t optimized for the service. In a city, I suspect the experience would be even worse.
As a result, 5G and xCloud could be quite intertwined in the future. 5G is more capable in populated areas but does require a lot of masts, which is likely to mean a slow rollout.
Moving into the future, though, those with SoCs like the Snapdragon 8c and 8cx may be able to hold strong cellular connections even during a commute. At 3 GB per hour at the current 720p, though, they may burn through their data cap quite quickly.
Sadly, Microsoft didn’t pin down an exact release date for xCloud on ARM, only mentioning 2020. It’s possible it will launch alongside the regular PC app, but it could take a little bit longer to get everything optimized.