Playing Xbox games without an Xbox 🤔
I transitioned from Xbox to PlayStation way back in late-2013, when the PS4 was released. I haven't owned an Xbox since then despite being a die-hard Halo and Gears of War player for many years when I was younger. I could afford to pick up an Xbox Series X/s right now, but I really do not need it. I already own a PS5 and I just don't consider it essential to have both next-gen consoles. I have been fighting the urge to waste $300-$500 on an Xbox just to play Halo and Gears.
I was hoping that I would be able to download Halo Infinite and Gears of War 5 on my iMac, but sadly the games are Windows only and I do not wish to run Parallels just to make that happen. I was at a crossroads for my next step. Should I just drop the money to get an Xbox and see what these two multiplayer games are like? Maybe I should just forget about it and enjoy the giant library of games that I have on my PlayStation 5. I knew there had to be a resolution to make my gaming life easier.
In comes Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and its Xbox Cloud Gaming service. Maybe, just maybe this would be the answer to my wishes.
I had read a bunch of negative reviews about cloud gaming services. People were saying that the gameplay is choppy, the resolution isn't crisp, and overall it just isn't reliable. This didn't give me much hope for Xbox Cloud Gaming, but I wasn't about to not at least give it a shot. I was able to get my first month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for only $1. If it only was going to cost me that little just to test this service out, I was more than willing to do so. I honestly cannot believe that it took me this long to give this route a chance.
It was pretty insane to log in to my Xbox account for the first time in nearly 10 years. I have so many memories with Xbox, this is when I really fell in love with online gaming. My account was called KrispyKremeKing, I thought the name was funny back in my middle and high school days. Of course, my gang of friends also supported my decision to go with the donut-based Gamertag. Seeing that low-resolution Gears logo as my profile pic reminds me of how far everything has come when it comes to gaming, graphics, and technology.
The first thing I did was turn off auto-renewal. You know, just in case this whole Xbox Cloud Gaming thing was absolute shit and I only played it once. I didn't want to start getting charged $15/month after the first 30 days only cost me $1.
After that, I went through the massive library of games included with the Xbox Game Pass. I am well aware that this monthly gaming service provides Xbox gamers with a near endless list of high-quality video games. These five below are the ones that interested me the most. Although I am pretty sure I will only be playing Gears 5, Halo Infinite, and Forza Horizon 5.
How does it play❓
I know you are probably dying to know whether or not I enjoyed my gaming experience with Xbox Cloud Gaming. Let's just say that I now have the URL to fire up these games added to my favorites tab on my web browser.
Now I'm going to break down the Pros and Cons for you now.
- The games start up pretty much instantly, no downloads needed.
- The best Xbox games are available to play.
- Gameplay is acceptable and runs smooth enough to be able to enjoy.
- I can finally play Xbox games on my iMac.
- My PS4 and Nintendo Switch controllers that I have sitting around collecting dust are compatible.
- You can play on pretty much any device including mobile, not just desktop computers.
- Resolution seems to fluctuate between 1080p and 720p, no 4K gaming.
- There is a slight input lag, which can be reduced by using a wired controller. It is noticeable, but not game-breaking.
- I cannot seem to figure out how to get my microphone to work for online chat.
- You are not able to download the games to play with higher resolution, you must stream them.
- There is no desktop application to download for Mac, this must be played within your browser.
- The cloud service is still in beta, so the experience isn't perfect, but it functions.
I'm thrilled that I finally have a way to play Halo and Gears. Sure it is a major step down from the quality of gaming that I've grown accustomed to with my PS5 and its gorgeous 4K gaming, often with 120 FPS. I'm not getting to experience the full beauty of these Xbox games, but I am still getting to play them. This is really all a fellow like me needed. This is the cure to my burning desire to enjoy Halo and Gears. All of this for just $1. I really cannot complain about this service.
Yet here I am with a few recommendations on how Xbox Cloud Gaming could improve. I'm very lucky to have an extremely fast and consistent internet connection. If I didn't have this or wasn't located in the USA where the streaming servers are, then I'm pretty sure my experience wouldn't have been nearly as good.
I really wish they could find a way to let me play these games on my iMac in 4K. That is my number one wish, I'm missing out big in the graphics department. I'm pretty sure all of these games are being run physically on an Xbox Series S. Maybe once this goes from beta to full launch they will upgrade everything to be run on Xbox Series X.
It would also be huge if they allowed you to download the games to your SSD. I doubt that is ever going to happen though. If it did, I doubt there would be much of a need for anybody to own an Xbox. This seems to be all about streaming. I didn't think cloud gaming had gotten to the point where it was actually useable, but it seems that it has.
This is what you can expect next 🎮
I will be playing Halo Infinite and Gears of War 5 here and there in the future. I am happy to announce that I still possess the skill with these games that I worked so hard to acquire many years ago. I want to test if screen recording my gameplay works well or if it lowers the quality. I do know that I will be able to record my chat audio during my gameplay, too bad I can't figure out how to chat with people in the game while using Xbox Cloud Gaming. Peep the Killing Frenzy I went on during one of my first games of Infinite. I also got a triple kill with my Gnasher in Gears which felt amazing, didn't screencap that though.
I considered changing my Gamertag, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to just stick with the OG KrispyKremeKing title. I'm still biased towards my PS5 in a big way, but it is refreshing to finally have the option to play some Xbox games when the desire arises, without having to burn through my crypto savings.
Have you tried Xbox Cloud Gaming ☁️
I am very curious to know if anybody else on Hive has given this service a chance. I know a lot of people here have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, but I'm willing to bet most of you have an Xbox or a PC running Windows to go along with that. If any of you are like me and do not have an Xbox and are on Mac OS, I am dying to hear from you.
Am I the only one that has actually been able to enjoy Xbox Cloud Gaming? Or is this actually a service worth paying $15/month for?
Comment below and start the discussion.
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