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Playing Xbox Game Pass through xCloud feels like a next-generation experience

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Ethelyn Brye is an award-winning author and blogger. Growing up in Switzerland and influenced by renowned Swiss design and a lot of fresh mountain air, she attended and completed design studies in Geneva. Post graduation she moved to Washington State to work for a design firm, but her love of writing brought her to Cyanosaur. She's highly interested in strategy rpgs, mountain climbing, board games with friends and skiing. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her lovely cat Armstrong.

It’s not exactly new technology, but winning a round of Halo 3 on my mobile phone feels wrong – in the best possible way.While Microsoft is undergoing some nasty twists in their next generation plans like the sudden delay of Halo Infinite, in other areas the tech giant’s unique master plan is expanding as planned. This week, a beta of the Xbox ‘xCloud’ game streaming service became available to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers on Android – and playing it for a few hours has really reinforced what Microsoft’s vision of the future is all about.The next generation isn’t all about hardware, Microsoft says. It isn’t even all about games. Instead, Xbox is delivering services – the new hardware almost feels like it exists to support the services, rather than the other way around. Playing the near-final xCloud beta on mobile, the experience is now so polished that it in itself feels like a next-generation offering.You can see that vision outlined in the blog posts around Halo Infinite’s delay. It’s not about that one big next-generation launch game – it’s about thousands of backwards-compatible games, enhanced games and subscription services. It’s also not even necessarily about buying the new box, as this beta underscores: a vast amount of the Game Pass Ultimate library can be booted on your phone.Game Pass Ultimate is $15 per month – for that price you get access to the Game Pass libraries on both PC and Xbox, an Xbox Live Gold subscription and now xCloud, the streaming service that’ll mean you can play a solid number of those included free games on your phone, tablet or other compatible device as well as on your Xbox or PC hardware. It’s good value. Anyway, settling in to play Halo 3, Forza Horizon 4 and then Streets of Rage 4 on this thing for a few hours is a bit of a revelation. It’s not like this technology is new – I remember being dazzled during the early media access to the long-dead OnLive, and then again convinced that Google Stadia had the right idea if not the right execution – but something about the Xbox implementation is just right.Perhaps it’s that these are proper games that we all know. Perhaps it’s that my saves sync across so my PC or console progress is right there on my phone. Perhaps it’s using a comfortable, proper controller. In all likelihood it’s a combination of these factors alongside some others beyond. Unlike many cloud gaming services so far, this feels like a complete, real, fully-functional service – and one that’s actually useful in the context of more traditional gaming. Subscribe to the VG247 newsletter Get all the best bits of VG247 delivered to your inbox every Friday! Don’t get me wrong; playing Halo 3 on a 6-inch screen isn’t the designed experience. The user interface is tiny. I didn’t have a controller clip either, so my phone was propped up – again, not ideal. But the fact this works
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Hands-on with the Hyper GaN Stackable USB-C charger [Video]

Last year Hyper launched the world’s smallest 100W USB-C charger thanks to its implementation of GaN technology. Now the company is back with an even more compact and functional way to power up your devices with the HyperJuice GaN Stackable Charger. Follow along for a hands-on look as well as how to get 50% off…

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