Xbox Cloud Gaming frustrations mount amid long wait times and game sessions failing to start

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In recent weeks, the gaming community has been grappling with mounting frustrations, as Xbox Cloud Gaming users find themselves caught up in seemingly endless wait times in some regions when trying to start a cloud gaming session.

A dilemma that has exacerbated since the hotly anticipated launch of Starfield, users are not only being subjected to protracted queues but are also encountering glitches where the game session fails to initiate altogether, with no queue time message appearing to inform them of the delay, or, in some cases, the queue time coming to an end and then the session failing to start.

Queue time complaints began to increase when Grand Theft Auto V rejoined the Xbox Game Pass lineup, but has become increasingly problematic since Starfield’s launch.

Since the launch of the blockbuster game Starfield, the Xbox Cloud Gaming platform seems to have been overwhelmed, indicating that the current infrastructure might not be equipped to handle the surge in user traffic. Users have been vocally expressing their dissatisfaction on various forums, highlighting the ongoing issue that has been persistent for several weeks now.

Many are left wondering whether the infrastructure behind the cloud gaming service is sufficiently robust to cater for growth, and whether Microsoft is even willing to improve and iterate on the service, following several promised updates to the service having not come to fruition, and lack of communication over the current issues being experienced.

Complaints have come in various different forms, including:

  • Long queue times (though this tends to vary depending on your location. It can be instant, but often several minutes, if not upwards of 45 minutes to an hour)
  • Once the estimated queue time ends, the gaming session never starts
  • No queue time displayed at all, and the service seemingly not connecting or actually loading

Here are some examples of the complaints that have been coming in on the xCloud (former name of Xbox Cloud Gaming) sub-reddit:

Is Xcloud Down?
byu/DONOHUEO7 inxcloud

Cloud Gaming stuck on “Getting your game ready”
byu/Sgt-Shisha inxcloud

I am stuck on the rocket ship loading screen
byu/Any_Fruit_8172 inxcloud

Frustrated with unfair XCloud wait times
byu/play150 inxcloud

One suggestion to workaround the issue of no queue time being displayed is to try Xbox Cloud Gaming on a different browser or app. For example, if you’re trying to stream via the Xbox app, instead switch to Microsoft Edge and connect to Xbox Cloud Gaming from the website instead. Unfortunately, however, if your main issue is the queue times, then there’s no workaround for these, you’ll have to wait it out and hope that the session starts after your wait.

What exacerbates the issues is the lack of communication about the extent of the problem or potential remedies. Gamers find themselves in limbo, unsure whether to continue waiting or abandon the session altogether, as no queue time message or notification pops up to guide them. This has inevitably led to a ripple of discontent amongst the gaming community, with users yearning for a more streamlined and responsive gaming experience.

It should be understood that the service is still in beta, however, at a time when Microsoft should be wanting to persuade gamers that cloud streaming is the future, these issues will only achieve the opposite result.

While cloud gaming promises a future where games can be accessed and played instantly, without the need for hefty downloads or installations, the current scenario paints a somewhat gloomy picture.

As users anticipate quick fixes, Microsoft is expected to respond swiftly to these growing concerns, possibly deploying upgrades to bolster the cloud infrastructure and ensure a smoother gaming experience. Failing to do so risks jeopardising gamers’ trust in the service and lead to abandonment and potentially creating backlash against cloud gaming more generally which may inhibit future growth of the platform, as people have to return back to waiting to download the game, but at least can guarantee a good experience at the end of it.

Have you been grappling with issues using Xbox Cloud Gaming? Share your experiences in the comments below. You never know, someone may have a workaround for your particular issue.