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Over the last two years, I've had the opportunity to test most game streaming services on an assortment of awesome Chromebooks. While many of these streaming services are still growing, I've had the chance to watch as they grow with incremental improvements. This means I'm familiar with the likes of Luna, GeForce, and even Stadia, along with Xbox Cloud Gaming. But Xbox Cloud Gaming has been in beta the entire time it's been available, which never looked great on higher-res screens since it was locked to 720p.


Well, that brings support to Chromebooks, just in time for Google's push into game-streaming laptops, and things are much improved over the last time I tried the beta Xbox Cloud Gaming service. So let's dig in and see what's new.

What's new with Xbox Cloud Gaming

Xbox Cloud Gaming home

First and foremost, 1080p support is finally available, so we're no longer stuck streaming games at 720p, thanks to the new PWA. I can say things look much crisper when streaming over the new PWA. Still, while the new 1080p support is nice, it doesn't quite stack up to NVIDIA's 3080 tier for GeForce Now that offers a 4K stream and high framerates. Xbox Cloud Gaming is a bit more of a supplementary service since it's attached to a Game Pass sub, so pure performance doesn't appear to be the goal right now. But hey, a bump from 720p to 1080p is nothing to complain about and is certainly a welcome addition.

What's especially nice about the new 1080p support is that latency feels much better, too. So, despite the bump in resolution that's more demanding to stream, things are streaming quite smoothly with only a few hiccups here and there.

A res bump isn't the only new thing. Stability improvements also made the cut. So far, I haven't run into any of the issues I did a few months back when testing Xbox Cloud Gaming, like oddities when flipping a Chromebook screen that places the navigation bar above the fullscreen window or warnings about network issues.

How does Xbox Cloud Gaming's new PWA stack up to the competition?

Xbox Cloud Gaming touch

Fairly well, to be quite honest. Before the recent improvements with the new PWA, I would have placed Xbox Cloud Gaming at the bottom of the pack, behind GeForce Now, Luna, and Stadia. But now that some much-need improvements have been made, streams are clear at 1080p with latency that compares to NVIDIA and Amazon. While some latency will be perceptible with certain games and on certain networks, this is the nature of streaming. So mileage will vary, but in my case, it is clear that improvements have been made. Thus, Xbox Cloud Gaming is finally competing with the big boys as far as picture quality and smooth streams are concerned.

So if you've been holding out hoping Microsoft would improve the beta for Xbox Cloud Gaming, now's the time to check it out on Chromebooks. This is convenient, with Google partnering with Acer, Asus, and Lenovo launching several gaming Chromebooks. While I have been unable to test how Xbox Cloud Gaming looks on a 16:10 Chromebook, there's still a question about whether or not Xbox Cloud Gaming will be letterboxed on the 16:10 screen Acer and Lenovo are using in their gaming Chromebooks. Seemingly NVIDIA has addressed this issue, having announced a special tier just for Chromebooks that streams at 1600p at 120fps. But it remains to be seen if Amazon or Microsoft will offer anything similar.

With healthy competition comes improvements for consumers

Xbox Cloud Gaming added

For the last year or so, it has felt like Microsoft was dragging its feet with Xbox Cloud Gaming, where Game Pass tended to take most of the focus with Xbox Cloud Gaming stuck in perpetual beta. While I believe the long beta to be a smart move to maintain consumer expectations (unlike Google overpromising with Stadia and under-delivering), 720p streams never really cut it for me, even when that meant acceptable latency.

Microsoft hasn't forgotten about Xbox Cloud Gaming, perhaps thanks to the recent push by Google to sell us gaming Chromebooks. Game streaming is on the rise, and competition is heating up, with NVIDIA making waves with its high framerate support. Still, Microsoft is also in this for the long haul, so it's fantastic to see broader support on Chromebooks with an official PWA for Xbox Cloud Gaming that brings some impressive improvements along for the ride.

So if you'd like to check out the new PWA, navigate to the in your Chrome browser on your favorite Chromebook, click the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner, then select Install Xbox Cloud Gaming and the PWA will install to your Chromebook to behave much like a native app. The best part is Microsoft offers a few free games, so you don't have to subscribe to Game Pass to quickly jump into a round of Fortnite to see what the new 1080p support looks like. So have at it, people, Xbox Cloud Gaming is finally a great way to game on Chromebooks, and it hasn't even left beta yet.