Using a cloud gaming service has plenty of advantages over traditional, local gaming: no need to buy expensive hardware, no limits on OS and devices, etc. But which service provider should you choose? Check out current market leaders below.
Gamers always had their fair share of problems, both with soft and hardware. First, quality hardware was never cheap; and second — plenty of video games were software-exclusive, with very few products optimized for Mac and Linux. Fortunately, it is now possible to play any complicated video game as easily — all with cloud gaming services. So, how does cloud gaming work? Which platforms work best today? Are there any essential differences between today’s market leaders? Find answers to all of these questions below.
What is Cloud Gaming?
A few people are already joking about cloud gaming providers being the Netflix for gamers. While this analogy is quite witty, it is not technically correct. Streaming is, of course, an essential part of video gaming visual experience. Still, the really important thing is that you get access to third-party services with their own hardware — hardware that supports a variety of video games. You, in turn, no longer need to own pricey tech — with cloud gaming, anyone can simply rent it. Finally, there is no difference when it comes to cloud gaming Service for Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, Windows, Ubuntu, etc. As long as your Internet connection is stable and the loading speed is fast, you can play hundreds of video games — regardless of your operating system or hardware updates. So, the real question is choosing top cloud services for your needs, not looking for some mythical free cheese. And we already have a couple of suggestions for 2020.
Best Cloud Gaming Services 2020
This list is not a rating by ‘best,’ ‘cheapest,’ ‘most feature-rich,’ or anything of the kind. Rather, it’s a compilation of quality products currently available in the market. It’s up for the gamers to pick one (or two) that meets their expectations.
One of the biggest perks of GeForce is that it supports over 400 video games. You can play them via a personal user library or simply buy new games in a few clicks. One of the biggest minuses is that it’s still in the beta mode. You can easily request access, even though no one can guarantee that your application will be approved. If it is, however, you’ll get a chance to contribute your own share into the development of cloud gaming and enjoy your favorite games — for free. GeForce Now will announce the actual prices after the testing.
This service is very moderately priced — an annual subscription costs under $100, which is approximately $8 a month. The biggest disadvantage of PlayStation Now is its platform-exclusiveness, which should not be the case with cloud gaming. Only PC and PS4 gamers can get access to PlayStation Now library, which — we must admit — contains quite a lot of treasures. Over 700 games, including God of War, Last of Us, and Bloodborne, are waiting for the lucky PC gamers.
Shadow supports all devices and operational systems, which meets our personal requirements for a quality cloud service. The downside, however, is Shadow’s high costs — subscription plans start at $35 a month, and there is not even a free trial mode to sweeten such a bill. Another bummer is that Shadow works only in some parts of the US. So, this service is not so versatile as we’d hope — while it supports all platforms, it is highly limited in geography.
Vortex is one of the most affordable cloud gaming services — subscriptions start at just $9.99 a month. Their library, however, is not very impressive — around 100 games. Sure, you may be lucky to find your favorite games with Vortex. However, this platform looks more of a newbie option — experienced gamers may find Vortex selection very modest.
Differently from most services described above, Parsec charges per hour, not per month. Their price range varies between $0.50-$0.80/hour, which makes sense at first — you only pay for the time you actually use. Still, the end bill may be a bit high for regular games — such a billing plan may end up costing up to $50/month, which is way higher than the market average. In terms of tech, it’s great, though — people can even add other players to their personal game mode. Another disadvantage is that you have to personally install and setup any games you want to play — which often takes time and experience.
Another gaming service that deserves some attention — both in terms of coverage and performance. The product is still in the beta version, and so — free of charge. The situation is most likely to change in the nearest future, but so far, Android gamers get a chance to experience 50+ of their favorite games with Project xCloud. With the official launch, this number will reach 3500+, but we are still waiting for the costs and prices. Even today, the visuals and the speed are the best on this list of cloud gaming reviews.
Finally, another cloud service could become a game-changer once it’s up and running — Google Stadia. Like all Google products, it may yet completely monopolize the market — somewhere along the road, of course. But, then again — while we still wait for relevant dates, features, and prices, we have to do with a product that’s already operational. Right now, it makes sense to check out free beta versions already available in the cloud gaming lands — GeForce Now and Project xCloud. When it comes to officially launched products, Shadow does offer some of the best experiences for all platforms, even though its geographical coverage is rather limited. Or would you pick another leader from this list?
About the author
Thomas Glare is a former web designer, gamer, writer, and reviewer. His gaming preferences, however, are not limited to war and strategy games — for over three years, Thomas has been actively exploring the gambling industry and checking out every new casino site. His passion as a former designer is video graphics and stunning visuals.