PlayStation clearly ahead of Xbox in the streaming test

Sony and Microsoft are prepared for the cloud future – one company apparently better than the other. Digital Foundry has compared the PS Plus Premium PlayStation cloud with the Xbox cloud and comes to a clear conclusion.

To the Features of PS Plus Premium and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes cloud gaming, which provides immediate access to video games. The games are calculated on external servers. A lengthy download is not necessary, which ensures you get started quickly.

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Since Sony's cloud gaming is now that PS5 game streaming supported, Digital Foundry looked at both services and compared the image quality, performance and latency.

While cloud gaming is still not an absolute replacement for the native console experience, the PlayStation Plus Premium cloud held its own in the extensive test and left the Xbox cloud behind by a significant margin. The Redmond company only delivered the better result in one area.

PlayStation Cloud can impress

In a comprehensive article, Digitial Foundry first looks at the basic functions of cloud gaming and gives the key technical data of the PlayStation Cloud.

Resolutions up to 4K with HDR are supported, although only PS5 games benefit from this. PS4 titles will be limited to 1080p. For PS3 classics it is 720p. In both cases, the underlying games would sometimes give more.

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For the tests, Digital Foundry used a BT FTTC connection with 70 Mbit/s download and 20 Mbit/s upload and pointed out that the end result for all users depends largely on their own line. However, the test setting is more than sufficient for 4K streams.

PS Plus Premium has also supported streaming PS5 games since 2023.

The games themselves also have an influence on the game quality. “2D games with flat, shaded shapes and lots of primary colors like Monster Boy,” for example, could hardly be distinguished from an installation on the PS5. However, 3D games with high contrast areas and movement – ​​as in the case of “Cyberpunk 2077” – showed impairments in fine details.

Further examples are given in Article from Digital Foundry and mentioned in the video embedded below.

Ultimately, with a game like “Horizon: Forbidden West”, which lies between the extreme technical situations, the testers came to the conclusion: “In 4K 30 FPS mode or in 1800p 60 FPS mode, the cloud version looks surprisingly good, too if there are still network issues and compression flashes on grassy elements.”

PlayStation vs. Xbox with a clear result

But how does the PlayStation Cloud compare to the Xbox Cloud? First of all, it must be emphasized that the Xbox cloud is still in beta and has not left it for years. But since the streaming service is part of the Ultimate subscription, a comparison with the PS Plus premium cloud is certainly justified.

The short version of Digital Foundry's comparison test: “To be honest, the Xbox cloud offering simply cannot keep up with the PS Plus Premium service from a technological perspective for a variety of reasons,” it says right at the beginning.

The image quality of the Xbox cloud is significantly worse and is limited to 1,080p, while PlayStation impresses with 4K. “A Plague Tale Requiem” was initially used, which runs on PS5, PS Plus Cloud and Xbox Cloud Gaming with up to 60 FPS.

The native PS5 version performed best, as expected, while the PS Plus Cloud version had compression artifacts but still rendered the game adequately.

“Unfortunately, the Xbox solution doesn't even come close to Sony's, with a heavily compressed image that simply can't represent elements like swaying grass, fire, or even the shadowed details of a house,” said Digital Foundry.

It is “not an isolated case” because all of the rich forest areas in the title have shown the same problems. Other games were also not convincing as an Xbox cloud version and lagged far behind their PlayStation cloud counterparts.

During the tests it became clear: Microsoft's cloud users receive streamed games as Xbox Series S versions – even though Microsoft had confirmed that xCloud data centers are based on Series X technology. It must be noted here that the streams are presumably calculated on virtualized Xbox Series S installations, which are based on Xbox Series X technology.

With other games such as “Resident Evil 2” it was also clear that players were getting the Xbox Series S version or a comparable result streamed.

“As a way to try out the game before installing, we don't get the full experience like we do with PlayStation Plus streaming,” Digital Foundry concluded. The result does not correspond to the graphics and performance of a local game installation on the Xbox Series X. When streaming PlayStation, the publication experienced a “PS5-equivalent experience”.



PlayStation Cloud weakens when it comes to input lag

A major weak point of cloud gaming is the input lag, which differs significantly from a local installation. During tests with “Cyberpunk 2077” around 50 ms were added.

Based on “Back 4 Blood” a comparison with Xbox streaming could be drawn. Here the Redmond company was ahead. Digital Foundry notes that proximity to the nearest server may have an impact.

All test results are comprehensive Digital Foundry comparison test summarized. You can also start a test video with plenty of examples and explanations. It is divided into the following topics:

  • introduction
  • How PS+ streaming works
  • Comparison between PS5 installation and PS+ cloud image quality
  • PS+ vs. xCloud image quality comparison
  • Refresh rate (A Plague Tale Requiem)
  • Refresh rate (Resident Evil 2 Remake)
  • Latency testing
  • Summary/Conclusion

Further news about Playstation Plus, Xbox Game Pass.

Discuss this news in the PlayStation Forum


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