Microsoft has made it clear that Xbox Cloud Gaming is a big part of its corporate future. In fact, the company has been putting a lot of resources behind creating enhancements to other products and services in order to support that goal. This week, the company made good on a promise made 2 weeks ago, bringing a gaming focused home screen and visual enhancements to its Edge browser.
The most front and center aspect of this week's upgrades is a new tab on the homepage of Edge. The new Gaming tab adds a number of interesting capabilities. First, it includes what you would expect - gaming related news. It also includes info about upcoming tournaments, highlights from recent tournaments, and even live streams of current events.
On my personal homepage, I see a registration link for EVO, a fighting game competition, along with highlights from a League of Legends event, and a link to Cellbit on Twitch. Earlier in the day, I was presented with a link to a YouTube livestream, showing that they are sourcing from more than one platform. Interestingly, none of the links I've seen thus far have been to Facebook Gaming, the platform that Microsoft folded its Mixer streaming platform into.
If you're signed into a Microsoft Account connected to a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, then you'll get a lot more. In fact, directly from the new Gaming tab, you'll be able to explore and launch Xbox Cloud Gaming titles. This is a huge benefit for those who use the Cloud Gaming feature on a regular basis. Without having to have launch the Xbox app or log into the Xbox website, you can get directly to your games without any hesitation or delay.
Clarity Boost is a feature that Microsoft has been working on in the Canary build of Edge for about a year. The goal of this feature is to bring a clearer, more beautiful picture to games in the browser. Microsoft's goal here is to make Edge the go-to place for game streaming. It's a similar move to how they enabled 4K streaming for Netflix while other browsers still run at FHD.
So, what is Clarity Boost? It is a client-side scaling technology that helps to ensure that streamed games are able to resize properly for the screen they are on creating a crisper and cleaner image. While the goal, of course, is to enhance the visual quality of Xbox Cloud Gaming days, it won't just apply to Microsoft's own platform. In fact, for the few people who use Google Stadia in the browser, you'll also see an improvement in graphics, so long as you're using the most recent version of Edge.
Efficiency Mode is an interesting new feature, as well. Essentially, it puts the entire browser to sleep while you're playing a game in order to redirect more resources to the game itself. When dealing with a native game, this is going to be more important, but can also be an enhancement to streamed games - especially on older and slower PCs.