The long-awaited update to the Xbox app for iOS is finally live! With it comes a highly anticipated feature – streaming from your Xbox console to your iOS and iPadOS device wherever you are!
For those not familiar, allow me to briefly explain. By linking the app to your Xbox console you can play games on your iOS or iPadOS device anywhere you are as long as you meet certain requirements.
The most obvious requirement is that you need to have an Xbox controller paired with your mobile devices. This is simple now that Apple directly supports Xbox controllers on their platforms.
If you are planning on streaming the game content outside of the home such as playing while you’re on vacation, then you will need to be sporting a 9 Mbps upload. At least, that’s what the tests in the app said I should have.
If you are playing at home and just want the freedom to play where you feel like such as in your bed or squatting on the john, then you’ll want to make sure that your wireless network can shoulder the load. Wireless AC or better is recommend.
Okay, okay – enough of the nerd stuff; how well does it work? For anyone that has used the PS3/4 equivalent or has used the Xbox streaming app on Windows, it is at least that good if not better in all areas you would expect except for one.
To test the app I fired up The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 on an iPhone XS using my local network. I will say that the colour, clarity, and frame rate were top-notch. The controller paired to my iPhone had absolutely no issues with input lag or unresponsiveness with button presses (yes, it’s a point-and-click adventure game, but button lag can be annoying even in those instances). To test out the frame rate on an action game I used Crackdown 3.
Even with the camera spinning around and bullets flying the frame rate only stuttered a little. It’s no something I would recommend if you are serious about Call of Duty or Fortnite or some other competitive game. Still, I found the gameplay smooth enough that I would not have any issues playing it for a normal gaming session. Well, except for one, small, glaring problem.
When connecting, more often than not, the sound would have a clicking accompanying it. Perhaps something to do with the audio compression as it sent the signal from my Xbox to my phone. There were times when it connected and the audio was crystal-clear. Other times it would connect and I had to stop playing because the audio was so grating. With a little luck and some reviews pointing it out this issue should be patched soon. But for now, the flaw is so glaring that I can’t even bring myself to use it for any length of time with the sound turned on. It’s that bad.
But What About Cellular?
I also tested Crackdown 3 on my cellular connection. I get about 2 bars of services at my house, so I figured it would be a pretty good test. Also, keep in mind that I have a 30 Mbps upload – well over the recommended 9 Mbps.
You can see on the HUD that the text is much more blurry. Granted, on the size of my phone’s screen it is much less noticeable, but still present. On the other hand, I’m playing a console game on my mobile phone by pushing the content in real-time over the internet. When looked at through that lens it’s actually pretty impressive.
All said, I am thrilled to finally have this feature on iOS/iPadOS. Taking the game away from the TV is a great feature of the Switch and being able to do it on a different console is a treat. I beat Persona 5 largely using remote play, so it’s a feature I’ve come to like. Once the audio is addressed I can’t think of a reason I wouldn’t pack a controller when I travel to play my games on the go.