Clarity Boost for xCloud out now on Edge

The proprietary optimization features on Microsoft's game streaming service are now available to Edge users - and only them.

Microsoft just dropped the new Clarity Boost feature for xCloud, and it's exclusive to the Edge browser. What sounds like a buffing spell that your party's cleric might cast on you in an RPG is actually a set of proprietary optimizations designed to make the game streaming experience just a little bit more visually impressive.

Players streaming Xbox games via the xCloud service on Edge can now activate Clarity Boost, which focuses resources on scaling improvements to make visuals sharper and more detailed. In the official release announcement Microsoft provided a comparison image from Gear Tactics that... doesn't really do a good job of demonstrating the improvements, but luckily users have already posted their own which make the difference more visible.

QUICKTAKE: View the short-form version of this article or scroll to keep reading.

Essentially, we're looking at a fairly minor reduction in blurriness and increase in texture resolution, by the looks of it. Clarity Boost is client-side, so it optimizes the output to your display ensuring that streamed content is scaled in a way that reduces quality loss as much as possible.

Based on some tests in games like Forza Horizon 5 and other recent titles, the changes can be best noticed in small details, mainly on surfaces. Materials are higher resolution and more detailed, faces are clearer, foliage seems sharper and more realistic. It isn't a groundbreaking improvement to be honest, but these small boosts sure add up.

Not the same picture, we swear.

The fact that Clarity Boost is exclusive to Microsoft Edge - Edge Canary, in fact, with older versions not supporting the feature - is bound to be the source of some grumbling as the Internet Explorer successor still doesn't have fans flocking to it. It's pretty telling that Microsoft are trying everything they can to force Windows 11 users into switching to Edge. That sort of stuff wouldn't be necessary if people liked it in the first place.

MORE:  Sony Play at Home Initiative Returns on March 2021

That said, Clarity Boost will eventually be available to all Edge users, with Microsoft stating that the rollout will be complete by "next year" - however it looks like that's where the broader releases end, and Clarity Boost isn't heading to other browsers like Google Chrome. Hopefully, this will change in time.

In any case, neat as it is, Clarity Boost definitely does not offer enough of a graphical improvement to be the feature that brings the masses flocking to Edge. If you don't mind using it though, you can give the feature a whirl right now.

Aron Gerencser
Gaming at least as long as he's been walking, Aron is a fan of all things sci-fi and lover of RPGs. Having written about games for years, he's right at home reporting most of the breaking news in the industry and covering the happenings of the e-sports world. Graduating summa cum laude from Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi with a BA in Media Production, Aron has been a game journalist since 2014. When not writing, editing or playing, Aron is building models which you can find on Instagram.