In the first day of this month, Samsung and Xbox revealed Xbox Cloud Gaming is joining with Stadia, GeForce Now and Utomik is another game streaming service offered as part of the Samsung Gaming Hub, a new update will be available on all Samsung 2022 smart TVs on June 30th. I had a chance to sit back and watch. demo to learn the details of the new hub and play Halo Infinite and Flight Simulator to understand how the new game center works.
Starting with this update, Samsung 2022 TV owners can access separate game and media centers. Media Hub has been re-optimized from previous iterations to focus on video apps like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon. However, the big addition to the upcoming TV update is the Gaming Hub. In this all-new section, you can access a special screen designed specifically for gamers – specifically, gamers in the cloud.
After pairing the controller of your choice (PlayStation, Xbox, and many third-party Bluetooth controllers work), you can access your Xbox Cloud library (available through Game Pass Ultimate), Stadia, GeForce Now and Utomik cloud titles. Additionally, Xbox Live chat is available at launch, while more potential chat options are available at launch or shortly after.
At the top of the screen, you’ll see the games you’ve played most recently across all of your cloud gaming platforms – at least the supported games mentioned above. When I asked the Samsung team if PlayStation’s new investment in cloud streaming through the unification of PlayStation Plus and Now services meant we’d see it on TV, the team was tight-lipped, saying that they’re focusing on Xbox for this meeting (It’s kind of like a pipe dream at this point, seeing how Sony might want you to buy their consoles and TVs). However, I would love that if you have Game Pass Ultimate and get permissions through Stadia, those games from multiple services will appear in the same “Recently Played” queue. After choosing the game you want to play, you can seamlessly switch to the service that the game is playable.
Below that row is the Apps and Devices panel, where you can access the physical control panel and devices connected to the TV’s HDMI port. In this demo, I see the Xbox logo appear, but the team tells me that if I connect a PlayStation or Switch, those logos will also show up here. Unfortunately, the games you play on your local console hardware don’t appear on the “Recently Played” row; the team told me there are some technical hurdles to that, but having a “Recently Played” queue for all your systems connected to the TV would be a real dream. Additionally, there are rows on the screen for featured videos pulled from YouTube Gaming, special collections that assemble your cloud library into genres, and game detail pages specifically geared toward you go to the service that has the game you want to play.
At the end of the demo, I practiced for about 10 minutes of the Halo Infinite campaign and flew over the Hudson River in New York, and landed at Newark Liberty International Airport in Microsoft Flight Simulator. It’s important to note that I played on a hardwired connection on a private network at Summer Game Fest. However, based on this use case, the latency and resolution are surprisingly good. It took my brain a second to adjust to the small input lag with Infinite, but after a minute I was shooting objects at enemies and knocking them down with the same effect I did on my home Xbox. Flight Simulator is of particular interest, because that game uses a lot of the cloud to stream its data, even on local copies, and because it’s one of the few new-gen titles. from first-party Xbox. The title was handled admirably on the Samsung screen I was playing on, with only a few minor touches appearing in the actual version of Manhattan I flew over.
I still haven’t sold 100% of the game in the cloud – I want to play a local copy of the game for better resolution and less lag – but the Samsung Gaming Hub feels like it’s related to something, especially for the crowd that wants to buy a new TV but can’t afford or can’t find a new console. I’m still not in the market for a new TV, but thanks to the space dedicated to the activity I’m probably doing the most on my current screen, I’ll be sure to let Samsung watch the TV as time goes on. ; and with game streaming technology slowly improving, who knows? Maybe by the time I need a new TV, I’ll continue to buy under that delivery method.