Playing the latest fashionable video games without a game console or dedicated PC is really possible now. We tested the Samsung Gaming Hub, which makes it easy to play cloud gaming with the help of a simple controller.
Samsung televisions and screens received a software update on July 1, adding access to Samsung Gaming Hub, a new environment dedicated to video games. If it is currently reserved for Samsung’s most recent products, those released in 2022, there was still a good surprise since it is also offered on the brand’s Smart Monitors. We had tested one in 2021it is a range of screens for PCs that incorporate a remote control, speakers and an independent TV interface allowing access to the most popular services.
A fairly simple initialization
Accessing the Samsung Gaming Hub is quite easy once the update is installed. The item is offered directly in the screen menu, next to the “desk” and “mediafor work and video services, respectively.
As promised, this hub brings together the Xbox Cloud Gaming, but also Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now. You can also access Spotify to discover the best video game music, or YouTube with a selection of the latest content related to video games. The interface is fairly easy to learn, even if it’s hard to understand the huge part reserved for advertising for the “Samsung GamingHubin which we are already situated.
The connection with the Xbox Cloud Gaming service is done through a Microsoft account. It is possible to play Fortnite directly without a subscription, but the best is still to be a subscriber to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to access the Microsoft catalog. First good point: no need to enter your connection address and password, just go to the URL indicated by the screen from a smartphone or computer and enter the pin code displayed. A hassle-free authentication as we like to see them on TV.
It is then necessary to associate a joystick with the television or the screen, in Bluetooth. Microsoft offers to use a good variety of controllers, that of Xbox obviously, but also the PlayStation DualShock 4 controllers and DualSenseor that of Amazon Luna.
The association with the controller is done through the Samsung interface triggered from the Xbox Cloud Gaming application. The user is not lost and we accompany him in each step of this first configuration.
There you go, the service is now ready. As on Netflix, just pick the game you want to play so that it starts in a few seconds.
A stunning experience: the future is here
We spent a good half hour testing several games on the service and we are impressed by the experience in more ways than one. First of all, our previous tests of Microsoft’s service had left us with a more mixed opinion. Unlike GeForce Now or Stadia, Xbox Cloud Gaming suffered from a technological lag in terms of display quality and latency. Both of these issues have finally been resolved.
To understand, we need to explain the context of the test. We are talking here about accessing a video game as impressive as Forza Horizon 5, from a simple monitor, without a game console or PC. We only had the Samsung monitor connected via Wi-Fi, and an Xbox One controller via Bluetooth. It should also be noted that the quality of the Wi-Fi connection used often leaves something to be desired, even if the internet connection is a very high-speed optical fiber. We actually played on the Wi-Fi of a tech company in an open space in the center of Paris. In other words, the wireless network is particularly saturated.
In these rather average conditions, we had no problems during our test with the game Hollow Knight or with Forza Horizon 5. In both cases, the most attentive will still notice some compression artifacts, but nothing major. Here, Microsoft’s service may be paying for its video stream in 1080p when Google Stadia and GeForce Now can go up to 4K. Anyway, the fluidity is there and the latency is excellent enough to be imperceptible.
The only downside we noticed during our experience took place when we changed the application on the monitor, and then returned to Xbox Cloud Gaming. Good point, the game was still in progress and we were able to resume. Bad point, in this case, the gaming experience was interrupted by many connection problems. Nothing too serious, it’s probably best not to mess with TV multitasking during gaming sessions.
Still, the gaming experience seemed stunning to us. The idea of being able to play on a simple TV just by connecting a wireless controller is incredibly exciting. That’s a net saving of 500 euros, the price of a next-gen console, for the interested casual gamer. Obviously, not all games are offered on cloud gaming services, and they require a subscription. But this turnkey solution without a PC or console is stunning.