Xbox Cloud Gaming is testing a new feature to improve image quality

Microsoft is now testing a feature to improve the picture quality of Xbox Cloud Gaming, their service that lets you play smart new games through an Internet browser, even on an old computer. Clarity Boost, as they call it, aims to make games look better through some client-side treatment fantasy. This feature is currently only supported in a trial version of the Microsoft Edge browser that is scheduled to roll out to regular Edge soon.

Playing smart games even on a trash can is a tempting prospect, but the nature of running a game on a remote server while streaming the screen to the player as a video comes at the expense of input latency and picture quality. Clarity Boost aims to help with the second problem.

Microsoft’s announcement explains that Clarity Boost “uses a set of client-side scaling enhancements to improve the visual quality of the video stream.” That’s all they say, even though they offer a comparison in Gears Tactics:

A demonstration of without / with Xbox Cloud Gaming's new Clarity Boost feature on a Gears Tactics screen.

Even through our website compression it is clear, although you can see it uncompressed and in full size here.

Not bad, that. Maybe a little sharp, but not monstrous. And yes, it’s only available in Edge, and it’s not my favorite browser, but Windows 10 installs Edge anyway, so no matter what.

If you’re playing cloudy and want to check out the news, download Microsoft Edge Canary, the trial version of their browser. Start a cloud game from there as usual, then look for Enable Clarity Boost in the More Actions menu. Microsoft warns that you may “notice reduced device performance (such as increased battery consumption)” if you use it, though this should not come as a surprise.

I have long been skeptical of image-‘improving ‘technologies because they were nonsense when they were first introduced. Too much weird over-grinding and other ugliness that looks like a bad Skyrim ‘HD’ texture pack against. Today, Nvidia’s DLSS technology is apparently good enough to be a very welcome feature in games for a ‘free’ performance boost, and I’ve also heard good things about AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution. If my aging GeForce supported it, I would definitely use DLSS.

How’s Xbox Cloud Gaming? Do any of you use it? As my PC gets more and more decrepit, I am sometimes tempted by steamy video games in genres that are turn-based or otherwise non-twitchy. I will admit: the extra money I have to upgrade something is swallowed up most of my bike these days. Although the global shortage of bike parts may be even worse than the global GPU shortage. The point is: do XCG video games do well?

Give a Comment