Project xCloud input lag is concerning, appears to suffer from one-third of a second delays

It seems that an intrepid Redditor has been able to estimate the Project xCloud input lag by analyzing the video used to debut the feature. Unfortunately, it isn’t looking that great — the estimate shows a delay of between one-quarter and one-third of a second between input and response in the game.

Redditor /u/Branflakes222 wrote a breakdown of his analysis on the /r/Games subreddit. The host was playing Forza Horizon 4 in the latter half of the video and /u/Branflakes222 noticed an issue when the host hit the brakes between 3:54 and 3:56. It’s subtle, but she taps the brakes for just a moment and you can see the brake lights flash on the car in the game. It seems that there was a short delay in-between the button press and the response in the game, so our industrious Redditor got to work.

The calculation of the Project xCloud input lag was done with some pretty simple math. We know that Forza Horizon 4 is running at 60 frames a second. If you set the YouTube video to display at the same rate, it should give you a good idea of how many frames pass between the button press and the response in Forza Horizon 4. Make that number of frames a fraction of 60 and you’ll have a good estimate of the Project xCloud input lag.

The generous estimate puts the delay at 15 frames and the less generous estimate puts the delay at 20 frames. That makes the delay anywhere from one-quarter of a second (250ms) to one-third of a second (333ms). I don’t know about you, but I’ve played first-person shooters with pings in excess of 200ms and it’s very challenging.

What does this mean for Project xCloud? Well, assuming the estimates ring true, it’s going to be somewhat difficult to have smooth gameplay for titles that require precision timing like first-person shooters and racing games. It may be possible that the Xbox team can improve on these numbers as time goes on, but our first look at the technology doesn’t inspire confidence. You can decide for yourself by watching the video below.