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xCloud’s new Clarity Boost promises clearer streams, but it’s only on Edge

xCloud’s new Clarity Boost promises clearer streams, but it’s only on Edge

Microsoft’s new Clarity Boost feature for Xbox Cloud Gaming (aka xCloud) is intended to make your cloud gaming streams a little bit less fuzzy, but it will only be available on the company’s Edge browser.

Clarity Boost “uses a set of client-side scaling improvements to improve the visual quality of the video stream,” Microsoft’s Milena Gonzalez said in a blog post. I tried Clarity Boost in a few games, and I felt that it made a noticeable difference. Games were generally less blurry, and many smaller details like leaves and bricks looked much sharper than they do with Clarity Boost off. It doesn’t dramatically change the way games look, in my opinion, but if you want xCloud games to be a little more clear, I’d recommend flipping Clarity Boost on.

Here are a few comparisons I put together to show you the differences. The first two are from Forza Horizon 5:

<div class="c-imageslider" data-cid="apps/imageslider-1638229390_5470_1833116" data-cdata="{"caption":"Check out the sharper grass and foliage in Forza Horizon 5.","image_left":{"ratio":"*","original_url":"https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/23051254/Screen_Shot_2021_11_29_at_2.22.38_PM.png","network":"verge","bgcolor":"white","pinterest_enabled":false,"caption":null,"credit":null,"focal_area":{"top_left_x":0,"top_left_y":0,"bottom_right_x":1578,"bottom_right_y":886},"bounds":[0,0,1578,886],"uploaded_size":{"width":1578,"height":886},"focal_point":null,"asset_id":23051254,"asset_credit":null,"alt_text":""},"image_right":{"ratio":"*","original_url":"https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/23051255/Screen_Shot_2021_11_29_at_2.22.46_PM.png","network":"verge","bgcolor":"white","pinterest_enabled":false,"caption":null,"credit":null,"focal_area":{"top_left_x":0,"top_left_y":0,"bottom_right_x":1578,"bottom_right_y":886},"bounds":[0,0,1578,886],"uploaded_size":{"width":1578,"height":886},"focal_point":null,"asset_id":23051255,"asset_credit":null,"alt_text":""},"credit":null}”>

Check out the sharper grass and foliage in Forza Horizon 5.
<div class="c-imageslider" data-cid="apps/imageslider-1638229390_3329_1833117" data-cdata="{"caption":"With Clarity Boost on, the bricks are less blurry.","image_left":{"ratio":"*","original_url":"https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/23051260/Screen_Shot_2021_11_29_at_2.23.50_PM.png","network":"verge","bgcolor":"white","pinterest_enabled":false,"caption":null,"credit":null,"focal_area":{"top_left_x":0,"top_left_y":0,"bottom_right_x":1578,"bottom_right_y":886},"bounds":[0,0,1578,886],"uploaded_size":{"width":1578,"height":886},"focal_point":null,"asset_id":23051260,"asset_credit":null,"alt_text":""},"image_right":{"ratio":"*","original_url":"https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/23051261/Screen_Shot_2021_11_29_at_2.23.57_PM.png","network":"verge","bgcolor":"white","pinterest_enabled":false,"caption":null,"credit":null,"focal_area":{"top_left_x":0,"top_left_y":0,"bottom_right_x":1576,"bottom_right_y":886},"bounds":[0,0,1576,886],"uploaded_size":{"width":1576,"height":886},"focal_point":null,"asset_id":23051261,"asset_credit":null,"alt_text":""},"credit":null}”>

With Clarity Boost on, the bricks are less blurry.

And here are two from Halo Infinite:

<div class="c-imageslider" data-cid="apps/imageslider-1638229390_5135_1833118" data-cdata="{"caption":"My Spartan’s armor is more detailed with Clarity Boost on in the Halo Infinite multiplayer beta.","image_left":{"ratio":"*","original_url":"https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/23051266/Screen_Shot_2021_11_29_at_2.40.06_PM.png","network":"verge","bgcolor":"white","pinterest_enabled":false,"caption":null,"credit":null,"focal_area":{"top_left_x":0,"top_left_y":0,"bottom_right_x":1578,"bottom_right_y":886},"bounds":[0,0,1578,886],"uploaded_size":{"width":1578,"height":886},"focal_point":null,"asset_id":23051266,"asset_credit":null,"alt_text":""},"image_right":{"ratio":"*","original_url":"https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/23051268/Screen_Shot_2021_11_29_at_2.40.24_PM.png","network":"verge","bgcolor":"white","pinterest_enabled":false,"caption":null,"credit":null,"focal_area":{"top_left_x":0,"top_left_y":0,"bottom_right_x":1578,"bottom_right_y":886},"bounds":[0,0,1578,886],"uploaded_size":{"width":1578,"height":886},"focal_point":null,"asset_id":23051268,"asset_credit":null,"alt_text":""},"credit":null}”>

My Spartan’s armor is more detailed with Clarity Boost on in the Halo Infinite multiplayer beta.
<div class="c-imageslider" data-cid="apps/imageslider-1638229390_1734_1833119" data-cdata="{"caption":"You can see more detail on the trees on Halo Infinite’s title screen.","image_left":{"ratio":"*","original_url":"https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/23051295/Screen_Shot_2021_11_29_at_2.39.08_PM.png","network":"verge","bgcolor":"white","pinterest_enabled":false,"caption":null,"credit":null,"focal_area":{"top_left_x":0,"top_left_y":0,"bottom_right_x":1578,"bottom_right_y":886},"bounds":[0,0,1578,886],"uploaded_size":{"width":1578,"height":886},"focal_point":null,"asset_id":23051295,"asset_credit":null,"alt_text":""},"image_right":{"ratio":"*","original_url":"https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/23051296/Screen_Shot_2021_11_29_at_2.39.14_PM.png","network":"verge","bgcolor":"white","pinterest_enabled":false,"caption":null,"credit":null,"focal_area":{"top_left_x":0,"top_left_y":0,"bottom_right_x":1578,"bottom_right_y":886},"bounds":[0,0,1578,886],"uploaded_size":{"width":1578,"height":886},"focal_point":null,"asset_id":23051296,"asset_credit":null,"alt_text":""},"credit":null}”>

You can see more detail on the trees on Halo Infinite’s title screen.

My colleague Tom Warren also showed off the new feature in a video:

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If you want to see the differences for yourself on your machine, you can try Clarity Boost now by installing Microsoft Edge Canary. But if you don’t want to use a bleeding edge (pun intended) version of the browser just to try Clarity Boost, it will be available to all Edge users “by next year,” according to Microsoft.

Update November 29th, 6:42PM ET: Added video from Tom Warren.

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