Google Stadia reportedly bested by Project xCloud in early latency tests

What you need to know

  • "Project xCloud" is Microsoft's upcoming game streaming service.
  • At E3 2019, everyone could test it out by streaming a game 400 miles away.
  • An analysis says xCloud only exhibited 67 ms of input lag which is almost the same as playing on an Xbox One.
  • March's Stadia analysis saw 166 ms of input lag.

At E3 2019, Microsoft is giving gamers the chance to try out "Project xCloud," its game streaming service that competes with Google Stadia. The server is located 400 miles away, but you can access games like Gears of War 4 and Halo 5: Guardians – both of which run at 60 frames per second (FPS) – on an Android phone connected to a controller.

According to an analysis by Ars Technica, xCloud only exhibited 67 milliseconds (ms) of input lag compared to Stadia's 166 ms. If you directly play Halo 5 on a console, you experience 63 ms of input lag:

In our video tests, the time between tapping the A button and seeing a response on the smartphone screen took sixteen frames of a 240 FPS video or 67 ms across three subsequent tests. That's almost imperceptibly slower than the 63 ms input latency Digital Foundry measured on the Xbox One version of Halo 5 in 2017... Testing latency of a wired... Stadia demonstration at March's Game Developers Conference, Digital Foundry found total latency of 166 ms, compared to a low of 100 ms on a 60 FPS PC.

Keep in mind that this test was conducted in less-than-ideal testing conditions, but it still shows a dramatic reduction in input lag when compared to Stadia's previous testing. However, as this is an early test, the input lag could change on xCloud going forward.

The same applies to Stadia. Since its reveal in March, Google may have managed to bring down the input lag further. We should know for sure in November when Stadia goes live for Founder's Edition subscribers and xCloud is in public trials. Let the streaming wars begin!

Asher Madan