Microsoft’s xCloud recreation streaming seems worse on Linux than Home windows

Microsoft’s xCloud recreation streaming seems to dip to a decrease visible high quality setting when operating on Linux. The obvious downgrade throughout working methods was famous by a Reddit person over the vacation weekend and confirmed in Ars’ testing this morning.

To match how xCloud handles a Linux machine vs. a Home windows machine, an Edge extension was used throughout testing to power the browser’s Person-Agent string to current itself as a Linux browser:

  • Home windows Person-Agent examined: Mozilla/5.0 (Home windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/103.0.5060.66 Safari/537.36 Edg/103.0.1264.44
  • Linux Person-Agent examined: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/102.0.5005.27 Safari/537.36 Edg/102.0.1245.7

Assessments have been performed on the newest model of Microsoft Edge (Model 103.0.1264.44, 64-bit) operating on a Home windows 10 PC. All assessments have been run on a wired Web connection registering obtain speeds of 120 Mbps and ~9 ms latency, in response to spot assessments at

A GIF comparing one corner of the image in two xCloud-streamed sessions, with only the User-Agent string changing between them.

A GIF evaluating one nook of the picture in two xCloud-streamed classes, with solely the Person-Agent string altering between them.

The distinction in streaming high quality will be seen within the above gallery (develop photos to full display screen for a greater view). With the Linux Person-Agent, edges are typically much less sharp and colours are a bit of extra washed out. The distinction is much more obvious for those who zoom in on the Forza emblem and menu textual content, which exhibits a big discount in readability.

What’s occurring right here?

Apparently, the dip in high quality appears to go away for those who allow “Readability Enhance, an Edge-exclusive characteristic that “provid[es] the optimum feel and look whereas taking part in Xbox video games from the cloud,” in response to Microsoft. That is nice for Linux customers who converted to Microsoft Edge when it launched on Linux final November. However Linux customers who persist with Firefox, Chrome, or different browsers are presently caught with apparently lowered streaming high quality.

That Linux high quality dip has led some to take a position that Microsoft is attempting to order the perfect xCloud streaming efficiency for Home windows machines in an try to draw extra customers to its personal working system. However utilizing a Macintosh Person-Agent string gives streaming efficiency just like that on Home windows, which might appear to be an enormous omission if that concept have been true. Microsoft additionally hasn’t revealed any type of “finest on Home windows”-style advertising in selling xCloud streaming, which might seemingly be a key element of attempting to draw new Home windows customers.

(The standard distinction may very well be a roundabout try to get Linux customers to modify to the Edge browser, the place Readability Enhance presents the very best high quality. However that also would not absolutely clarify why Home windows customers on different browsers, with out Readability Enhance, additionally get higher streaming high quality than their Linux brethren.)

Others have advised that the downgrade might merely be a bug attributable to Microsoft’s naive parsing of the Person-Agent strings. That is as a result of the Person-Agent strings for Android browsers typically establish themselves as some model of Linux (“Linux; Android 11; HD1905,” for instance). Microsoft’s xCloud code may merely see the “Linux” in that string, assume the person is operating Android, then robotically throttle the streaming high quality to account for the (presumably) lowered display screen measurement of an Android telephone or pill.

With Microsoft declining to remark to Ars Technica, we’re nonetheless caught theorizing what’s behind this obvious subject. In the interim, although, Linux customers who need the perfect xCloud efficiency will wish to change over to Microsoft Edge with Readability Enhance or not less than pretend their Person-Agent settings to faux they’re operating Home windows.

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