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Xbox basically just buried Google Stadia with the latest Project xCloud update

Xbox Cloud Gaming
Xbox Cloud Gaming (Image credit: Windows Central)

With one single library update, Microsoft just ripped Google Stadia of one of its only reasons to exist. Today, without any fanfare or warning, Microsoft included Destiny 2 to its Project xCloud game streaming library, at no extra cost, complete with synchronicity for those of us who have been playing on Xbox or using save syncing.

Here are the games Microsoft added just today, alongside the rest of the full library.

  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection
  • Destiny 2
  • Sid Meier's Civilization VI
  • Batman: The Enemy Within – The Complete Season (Episodes 1-5)
  • Batman: The Telltale Series – The Complete Season (Episodes 1-5)
  • The Wolf Among Us
  • Wasteland 2: Directors Cut
  • The Surge
  • SUPERHOT
  • Portal Knights
  • GoNNER - BLÜEBERRY Edition
  • Kingdom Two Crowns
  • Sparklite
  • Tracks – The Train Set Game
  • Train Sim World 2019

Destiny 2 remains an incredibly popular game, and is practically the only service-type game with perpetual updates that might, might have justified keeping Google Stadia around. But now, why bother? On Project XCloud, not only do you get to play online, on the go, wherever you are on any Android device, but you also get to seamlessly sync your save file to an offline local version of the game, running on your Xbox console devices (whether it's the S, X, or Series X later this year). All of this, while ignoring the vast amount of superior games Project xCloud already offers despite being in preview.

Therein lies the only kicker, really. Google Stadia is actually released, a product you can buy in stores. Although, you could argue that it's effectively just a paid-for-preview, since the library sucks and it's missing tons of basic features, having only recently got some of its previously-advertised functionality like achievement support. Project xCloud is still limited only to the U.S. and UK, and even then, you need to be lucky enough to grab a spot in its preview program.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Microsoft seems to be taking a soft approach to the rollout of xCloud, having only just expanded its home console streaming function to more markets. Google Stadia has far wider availability, despite all of its downsides.

Microsoft just ripped Google Stadia of one of its only reasons to exist.

Still, despite the availability, Xbox's obvious advantages are beginning to mount up against Google: The superior relationships with developers, the promise of offline versions through home consoles and Windows PC, all with seamless syncing across all of your devices. Microsoft also just announced that xCloud is already seeing positive results in Eastern markets, with South Korean gamers spending almost double the amount of hours streaming games than westerners.

Google isn't down for the count yet, though. The firm announced it will be adding more than a hundred games throughout 2020, complete with timed-exclusives. Google has piles of cash to spend on competing in this nascent market, whether it's purchasing third-party exclusivity deals a la Epic Games, or simply buying up studios in their entirety.

One thing is for certain though, Microsoft's established presence in the industry is going to help it a ton when it comes to this new market, when you envisage a world where the technology powering these experiences is practically equal. Google is going to quite seriously have its work cut out if it wants to stand even the vaguest chance of Stadia being anything more than another product on Google's scrapheap.

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Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

33 Comments
  • Density 2 = snooooooze fest. Civ 6!!! Does this mean game pass soon?
  • Happy about MC Collection being added. Like accessing it via xCloud over Console Streaming.
  • Just with xCloud could run on a PC/laptop already. Speaking of South Korea, imagine if someone ported Starcraft to run on xCloud?
  • Or an iPhone. Limiting xCloud only to Android for the foreseeable future is frustrating. I’m not confident I’d ever get to use this service.
  • Google Stadia recently acquired Typhoon Studios but their upcoming game is releasing on PC and console meaning it will probably be a few years before they make any exclusives for Stadia. What is the appeal in paying a ridiculous price for an old Assassin's Creed or Tomb Raider game when that money could be used on a subscription to Game Pass?!
  • Scroogle fanboys will still purchase the underwhelming Stadia until such time as scroogle gets bored and drops the whole thing.
  • You mean like they did with Windows Phone? Ah wait...
  • Stadia and xCloud are not really competitors.
    Stadia is an alternative for a console, and xCloud is only an extra feature in Xbox console.
    You cannot play in big screen with xCloud alone - you also need to buy expensive hardware. With Stadia you can.
    And xCloud 720p is a joke in 2020. Stadia has almost 10 times more pixels with 4K.
  • Stadia doesn't even give you the option to play your games locally. Network drops, game's gone.
  • Best way to play games locally is the upcoming PS5.
    If the network is slow or unreliable, don't stream. But if you buy a box, why would you like to stream?
    It is far better to just download the games and play old school.
  • I can understand it's not for everyone, but xCloud is great for someone like myself who travels a lot for work. The ability to go from playing a game on my TV, then jumping on the train and picking up exactly where I left off at home is pretty awesome. I just wish it would hurry up and arrive in my country so I could use it for that purpose. Also, you kind of can play on a big screen without an Xbox, you just need to mirror your phone to your TV, which is easily done these days.
  • You can do the same with Stadia - with the exception that it actually works.
    And when you come back home, you can continue in 4K on your TV.
  • I'm aware of that, which is why I will get Stadia once the free subscription is released and play exclusives on it. But when I'm at home I don't want to stream my games, that's a waste of bandwidth and outright ludicrous in a household with ten plus devices constantly connected. So Stadia basically won't be used at home for me except occasionally if I feel like playing one of those games.
  • It's not clear yet the best way to play games locally. The xbsx may end up having higher specs and running games better than ps5
  • Why will there exist such people like you, really funny. First, please tell me what are you so proud of the fake 4k gameplay. Then please tell me, how can a platform with only 27 games can be said as the market leader, you are either blind or mentally disabled. Truely, one can be confident and love one platform, be a fanboy. But sometimes you need to use facts, please don't always say stadia is best, stadia have so many advantages but not point to the disadvantages, like a joke.
  • Shambolic article. You don´t get the selling point of Stadia and try to raise a service for phones only (xcloud) to the level of a full blown gaming service (stadia).
  • Agreed. I have both xCloud and Stadia. I barely play xCloud because it's phones only. I don't really feel like playing games on my phone.
  • Exactly! Why would anyone buy a box and play in 720p?
    PlayStation 3 had better resolution and that was year 2007. Stadia's selling point is to remove the box completely - and still offer 4K gaming in big screen.
  • I also have both and I play xcloud more....just because of all the free content right now. I dock my s10 to my tv and its basically a console. Its too much of a hassle to play on a the chrome browsers on the s10. For the casual gamer this is pretty nice. I wont ever buy another console. My son tho who is a hard core gamer wont play it because of the tiny latency. Different stroke for different folks. The im just happy to have the option. Seems big tech takes more options away these days then gives.
  • Mirroring phone screen to TV does not really work with games.
    It adds too much latency, and results abysmal resolution. That is why Stadia runs in a small chromecast dongle in order to produce 4K and no observable input lag.
    Chrome browser is only for laptop and pc usage.
  • Stadia will be awesome when they release the free 1080P plan (paying for games only). Anything other than that is a waste of money in my opinion.
  • Currently phones only. But it will be on all Google and Apple devices. Apple TV, Google TVs, etc etc.
  • Google Stadia is already not talked about in gaming circles. The interest lasted all of 5 mins. They launched it with absolutely nothing. And serious input lag upto 800ms.
  • Stadia works perfectly with zero input lag in my setup - and most importantly it is 4K.
    xCloud uses 720p resolution, which is 15 year old technology.
  • If you didn't have to pay for access to the stadia store and just bought the hardware and the games that would be better.
    Or if you did pay access to the games store and didnt have to "buy" each game separately
  • The biggest advantage of Stadia is that you never have to spend money on hardware - and still can play games on big screen. I am happy to pay 10$ for that (and you get free games also).
    And if you don't want to buy games, Uplay+ for Stadia is coming this year.
  • there's no money for hardware to use stadia? they give you controller or access device and stuff for free? that's cool they need to go down to like $30 on the games though since you can only stream
  • I used to be a huge Google fan, but have since gotten discouraged on so many occasions (most recently with their shuttering of the "Works with Nest" program, removing almost all desirable extra functionality from my Nest Thermostat and Nest Hello--their value reduced to that of much cheaper generic options). Google shuts down/abandons/breaks/"fixes" what isn't broke with 80% of their offerings that work great and people love using, then offers no equivalent or replacement in return. Does anyone really think they'll stand by Stadia when all of the current publicity is negative? They've ruined their own reputation with their history of support for their own projects, so who's going to purchase games for a platform that will almost certainly disappear suddenly in the next year or two, leaving the consumer holding their...*controllers* with no way to play those games?
    I'm also in the X-cloud beta and it's amazing! It works on my Note 8 phone on the bus to work. ON THE BUS! (mostly... some to-be-expected hiccups along the 40 minute route) And it's currently free, but even $20/month would be a steal for this kind of functionality which will almost certainly only get better. All this from a die-hard PlayStation guy.
  • If I had to bet, I would say either PS5 or Stadia will be the market leader in a few years.
    xCloud is technically too far behind with 720p. But it is good to have competition.
  • It is way too confusing how XBox mixes different services.
    They have Xbox Game Pass, Xbox xCloud, Xbox Live Gold - and finally Xbox hardware.
    You spend your money for all 4 - and still only get abysmal 720p for cloud games. Stadia is one service for all gaming - and offers superior 4K resolution.
  • I need a link to where xCloud is only pushing 720P to devices, people are claiming a 2-3GB/h data usage which is significantly more than a 720P stream.
  • You may want to watch some digital foundry videos on youtube before making the claim 'offers superior 4K resolution' You are way off on that.
  • How 720p phone only platform buried 4k all screen platform (stadia)