01:59 pm
19 August 2022

20% of Xbox Cloud Gaming Players Use Touch Controls Exclusively

20% of Xbox Cloud Gaming Players Use Touch Controls Exclusively

Microsoft has posted a developer report discussing the implementation and adoption of touch controls by players of Xbox Cloud Gaming on mobile devices.

20% of our Xbox Cloud Gaming users use touch as their exclusive method of playing games. . . We’ve seen, on average, a 2x increase in usage for titles available via Xbox Cloud Gaming, across genres, that implement touch controls. . . .

20% is an impressive figure, and it’s certainly testament to Microsoft’s investment into the accessibility of Xbox Cloud Gaming. But the essay is also an interesting look at the tools developers can use to implement touch controls for their games. Microsoft is easily making the biggest effort towards touch accessibility for its games, compared to competing companies. One detail the essay mentions is the ability to scale a game’s UI according to the player’s screen size. This is honestly pivotal for fitting TV-sized games onto screens many times smaller. It does not, however, mention text scaling, so I’m not clear if that’s a tool option for developers or not, but it would certainly be another great step forward.

The essay also discusses “native touch” as another example of touch support expansion: “Titles can build natural mobile interfaces, like tappable buttons on menus, pinch to zoom and pan to scroll on maps, or even tapping on the place that you’d like your character to walk to.” I wish more titles would use this feature, though. When playing Xbox Game Pass on mobile, I often find myself missing traditional touch controls. Donut County is a perfect example. It was developed primarily as a mobile game. I own it on Android and have also played it over Xbox Game Pass. Donut County does have a simplified touch enabled control scheme, which is nice, but you still must move a cursor around with a virtual analog stick., whereas the native mobile controls are much more natural for this game. I wonder if it would be possible for Microsoft to stream the Android version of a game when that game is literally a console port of the mobile original.