Microsoft xCloud vs. Shadow: what is worth investing?

A new competition is being born into the kingdom of games for PC: streaming of games. The service Project xCloud Microsoft likely to profile as a major player in this new frontier, but it will not be short of competitors, including Shadow. This streaming service of the French firm Blade is now available. Both have basically the same concept: the ability to play games intensive of high-end computers low-power. But they are not precisely the same thing, and that is why we decided to cope with Microsoft xCloud vs. Shadow to help you decide.

Microsoft xCloud vs. Shadow

Supported platforms

Both services offer versatility. Microsoft xCloud is designed to complement a Xbox One or a PC, though you could also replace the need for an Xbox console or a PC high-end, if you are willing to sacrifice some performance.

Servers Azure Microsoft allow users to take advantage of the power of the cloud to play games intensive to devices that would otherwise be incompatible. For the first time, users will be able to enjoy exclusive titles from Microsoft on their phones and tablets (iOS and Android).

Shadow offers a compatibility similar. Currently, you can play on PC, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. Shadow gives users remote access to a computer PC high-end via your application. There, users can log on to their Windows profile and download the applications that you want.

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Streaming Shadow can also be used in the tv if you purchase the Shadow Ghost ($150), a team stylish that is not necessary, but it could be worthwhile for those who want to play on a bigger screen.

With both services you can change the platform in seconds. You could begin to play on a PC and then spend on the phone when it is time to leave.

Controls / knobs

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Will Fulton/Digital Trends

Being a Microsoft product, it is not surprising that the first control option for the xCloud is the Xbox One. The wireless controls of the Xbox One will work with all compatible devices, provided that they have Bluetooth and the control has been manufactured after 2016. We assume that the controls are more traditional will also work on a PC. Considering that xClouds supports games of PC, we imagine that there will also be compatibility with mouse and keyboard, though Microsoft has not confirmed that detail. In mobile devices there will be controls on the touch screen.

Shadow supports various control methods, including the mouse and keyboard controls and DualShock 4 and Xbox One. It is also compatible with other controls that work with your device, but the PS4 and Xbox One will probably be the best options for the majority.

Quality of the streaming

The quality of the streaming could be the most important factor to consider. No one wants to subscribe to a service if you do not provide games that look and run very well. Although we would not expect a streaming service to offer an identical experience to playing on your own computer, we want an experience that is worth what we are paying.

Microsoft has not unveiled completely the xCloud, but we know that will use the servers to Azure. We also know that the company does not seek to imitate the experience of the console. A blog entry talking about the xCloud stated that this service is not designed to replace a Xbox One “connected to a tv to 4K with support for Full HD and surround sound”. The choice of words is interesting. Does that mean that the xCloud will not have support for 4K or HDR? It is too early to know, but Microsoft of course does not want to undermine its business of consoles with the xCloud.

Shadow is already available, so we already know the specifications. This service offers games in 4K at 60 frames/frames per second, as long as your device support 4K. When using 1080p, Shadow is able to achieve refresh rates much higher (144Hz).

The remote computer you have access to is a PC with Windows 10 with specifications rugged: Intel Xeon eight threads, graphic processing unit, Nvidia Quadro P5000/GTX 1080, 12GB of RAM and a solid state drive of 256 GB. The Shadow is optimized for a internet speed of 15 Mbps and operates through the internet from your home or 4G LTE. The solid state drive will fill up in no time when you download AAA games, but with speeds of 1GB/s, you can install even the largest files in about a minute.


Microsoft xCloud and Shadow offer different games, but both have catalogs immense. Microsoft created xCloud to complement the Xbox and will allow users to play any of the more than 3,000 titles for xBox One with the xCloud. In addition, the titles for the PC released by Microsoft will also have compatibility. Since it is expected that the next Xbox comes out at the end of 2020, you can expect that catalog to grow to include the titles of Xbox of the next generation. In summary, the catalogue of the xCloud will be huge.

Shadow, meanwhile, revolves around what you have. As you have remote access to a team of high-powered, you can download Steam, the Epic Games Store, and other customers and create your personal archive of games. Something important is that you have to buy games in addition to the subscription price; although this also means that you have access to many thousands of games for the PC – provided that you pay first.


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Microsoft xCloud revolves around the constant access to the catalog of Xbox, it doesn’t matter if you’re in your room with an Xbox One sitting in front of your PC or away from home with a mobile device. The main goal of the xCloud is to offer an experience out of sync on all your devices. You can start a race in Forza Horizon 4 at home and finish it on the go, while the road to somewhere. Most of the time you’ll be able to use the control the Xbox One, regardless of the device.

There is still much that we do not know the xCloud in terms of functions, but in the event E3 2019 Microsoft revealed that you can use your Xbox as a server’s private xCloud. Basically, you can do streaming with your file games when you’re away from home, with a phone or tablet. This function is attractive, but it is not clear which Xbox console you’ll need.

Shadow, that is already available, it offers a unique experience. As mentioned, the Shadow is, in reality, a cloud service designed specifically for gamers. With the app of Shadow you get access to a remote PC and the servers make a partition for you.

The first time you access to Shadow you’ll find the standard configuration of Windows 10. From there, you can choose which applications to install. Even though Shadow is definitely made for gamers, you can also use the service for functions not related to the games that might need more processing power than your local devices. One of the biggest attractions of Shadow is its compatibility with Mac, which provides access to the Apple users to a catalog much broader range of games without having to resort to Bootcamp or Parallels. Like xCloud, Shadow stays with you when you’re at home or on the street, so that you rejoin where you left off on a different device.

Price and availability

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The service xCloud Microsoft is not yet available. There will be a beta version of the public test in October for which you can aim. The test will be available in the united States, United Kingdom and South Korea, and you’ll need an Android phone and an Xbox One with Bluetooth. In the beginning you will find Halo 5: Guardians, Is of Thieves and Killer Instinct.

In terms of pricing, we expect that Microsoft will announce specific details later. To way of calculation, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $15 dollars a month and gives you access to online services of Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass. The xCloud could have a subscription model similar.

If Microsoft only requires a subscription to give you access to the entire catalog of more than 3,000 games, we assume that its cost will be a little higher. As a reference, PlayStation Now costs $20 dollars a month and provides access to over 750 games.

Shadow is already available in 38 states of the united States, as well as in several european countries. You can test it for ten days for $10 dollars. After the test you can choose between two subscription models. An annual plan costs $25 per month ($420 per year). You can also spend another $150 dollars in the Shadow Ghost if you want to play on the tv. The price of the subscription does not include the games, which must be purchased separately.

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