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Is Xbox Game Pass Worth Playing on Samsung TV?

Electronics manufacturers do not make it easy for the average consumer to keep up with technological advancements without sacrificing other areas of their life. While some manage to live up to consumers’ expectations better than others, the unfortunate truth is that the industry still has a ways to go before it can fully commit to delivering reasonably priced products that work as envisioned. Samsung’s latest endeavor to bring gamers one step closer to the ultimate game streaming experience is perhaps one such example, as the quality difference between using Game Pass on a TV and an Xbox console remains a thorn in many a gamer’s sides.

With the promise of no additional hardware or downloads needed, Samsung first announced its Gaming Hub during CES 2022. The idea was to create an all-inclusive game streaming platform that would allow users to discover and play games from partners like Microsoft, Nvidia, Google , and others. The service rolled out about a month ago with one minor setback — it is exclusive to Samsung’s 2022 TV lineup and Smart Monitor Series. While the Gaming Hub does seem to bridge the company’s expertise in hardware and software to bring about a unique gaming experience rooted in practicality, how does it actually fare in practice?

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Game Pass Ultimate subscribers are no strangers to cloud gaming and know about the challenges it presents. Many gamers still view it as an experimental feature that is not up to par with today’s gaming standards because the experience it offers is inferior to playing on an actual home console. Samsung addresses this issue by incorporating hardware that allows for faster decoding and optimized buffer control technology, which, both in theory and in practice, significantly reduces the input lag. Even so, the issue of compatible broadband remains, and it is not something that first-party or third-party manufacturers can hope to predict or change.

For gamers who enjoy the benefits of a Game Pass subscription but are also accustomed to playing in 4K with high refresh and FPS rates, dedicated Xbox cloud gaming on the latest Samsung TV might come across as underwhelming, especially given the price tag of certain models. Instead of having access to more than 300 streaming titles, Samsung’s Game Pass library currently supports just over a hundred games. Another major drawback is the 1080p resolution that caps at 60fps. However, some options can be tweaked, despite the Picture Mode being locked to Game Performance for obvious reasons.

By adjusting the color, brightness, and sharpness of the picture via the TV’s Expert Settings, gamers can increase the visual quality of compatible Game Pass titles. Another way to enhance the graphical appeal comes at the cost of latency, which can be done by holding the Xbox button on the controller and navigating to the Settings tab. From within, gamers can access the Game Performance option and set it to AI Upscaling instead of Low Latency. Although these tweaks will make some games appear less jarring, the quality of the service is hardly comparable to the performance achieved through an actual Xbox console.

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While Samsung does bring an innovative concept to the table, the fact is that it is not advanced enough to be seen as a viable alternative for home console gaming. Using Game Pass on an Xbox console offers a wholesome experience that neither hinges on internet speed nor the compatibility of select titles. It requires fewer adjustments and compromises, and though Samsung supports different controllers and Bluetooth headsets, there is ample room for improvement and expansion. With time, these are sure to be addressed, but for now, the notion of quality access to hundreds of games with nothing but a monthly subscription and a supported Bluetooth device is still too good to be true.

For all intents and purposes, Game Pass subscribers have no reason to trade the experience of owning an Xbox console for Samsung’s Gaming Hub. It is, however, an excellent option for those who already own a device compatible with Gaming Hub and would like to explore Xbox’s offerings without purchasing the console. Fortunately for gamers on both ends of the spectrum, Samsung is determined to continue working on its newly introduced service to enhance its accessibility and performance.

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