You know things are bad for Google Stadia when even the Google sites say it's stuffed. But that's what they're saying: the latest upgrade heading for Xbox Cloud Gaming, which you can play not just on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S but on PC and some of the best phones and best tablets too, takes away the only real advantage Stadia has. The only good news for Google is that the feature isn't here yet.
As 9to5Google reports (opens in new tab), Microsoft is adding support for keyboard and mouse input. That's not new to Xbox owners, who've been able to up their game with the best gaming keyboards and best gaming mice for years now. But Microsoft's cloud gaming didn't support those input devices, so this is a significant step forward. If developers choose to add it to their games it means Xbox Cloud Gaming will deliver an even better experience on PCs in particular.
Xbox is winning the cloud gaming battle
Microsoft is being incredibly aggressive in the cloud gaming space: it's brought cloud gaming to Samsung TVs and while its Keystone dongle is apparently being rethought from scratch, it's still intended to add Xbox cloud gaming to the best TVs in the very near future. Sure, Stadia tends to offer better frame rates, especially on mid-range broadband connections. But it doesn't have the same one-fee-for-everything approach that Microsoft offers, and we've already seen that Microsoft is investing hugely in blockbusters and Indies for Game Pass; it already offers more games than Stadia does, and for me at least the catalogue is much more compelling.
Don't get me wrong. Competition is good, and I'd hate to see Microsoft be the only game streamer in town: while Netflix gaming and the new PS Plus service for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 among others aren't for me, their very existence will keep Microsoft keen and competitive. But if Xbox and Stadia were characters in Mortal Kombat, I think Cloud Gaming's addition of keyboard and mouse support would have a very familiar soundtrack: "Finish him!"