Cloud gaming is a type of online gaming that streams a particular game running from a remote server to a user. Usually, these services are subscription-based, and cloud gaming companies require users to pay a monthly subscription fee. Cloud gaming is perfect for people who don’t have powerful PCs to run the game flawlessly.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the best cloud gaming services today and some of the pros and cons of their services. Let’s get to it!
What Is Cloud Gaming?
We’re pretty sure most of us have Netflix or any other streaming services. Cloud gaming is similar to that, however, instead of streaming a movie or a video into your computer, cloud gaming services will stream games to your PC as if you’re playing them in real-time!
Here are some of the reasons why people choose cloud gaming services:
- People don’t have a high-end gaming PC to play the latest video games with acceptable performance.
- Gaming on the go with your laptop, tablet or phone.
- No downloads mean that you’ll instantly be able to play and access your games.
- Accessible to anyone who wants to try out gaming for the first time.
NVIDIA GeForce Now
- Compatibility with MAC, IOS, Android, and NVIDIA Shield
- Provides a limited Free Trial
- Has advanced technology like Raytracing
- You still need to own the games to play them with this service.
- NVIDIA GeForce Now does not support every game you own.
- Limited to PC-only games
NVIDIA GeForce Now provides a seamless gaming experience requiring only a strong internet connection. A significant setback for NVIDIA GeForce Now is that you need to own the games to play them from their server. Unlike other cloud services, NVIDIA will not provide you with a game library.
Here are the pros and cons of NVIDIA GeForce Now!
NVIDIA GeForce Now is an excellent cloud game streaming service that offers options for users depending on their budget and even supports multiple platforms. The caveat, however, is that the price is a bit steep and you have limited gaming sessions; although you can rejoin a session again, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be the first in line.
- Offers 4k streaming at 60 FPS
- Compatible with MAC, Windows, Android, and IOS
- The Google Stadia Pro subscription offers a variety of games
- Relatively cheap
- Smaller array of games compared to competitors.
- TVs require Chromecast Ultra and a Stadia Controller
UPDATE: Google has decided to shut down Stadia because of it’s underwhelming track record and an inability to gain regular users. Stadia will be completely shut down on January 18th, 2023.
Although many fans hyped Google Stadia at its launch, it failed to meet user expectations. However, Google has continued to improve on Google Stadia ever since. There are a few games included in the Google Stadia library, and Google also provides you the option to rent games per month.
Google Stadia is almost three years old now, and Google is still trying to keep it alive despite its low user count. If you’re looking for a cheap option for a Cloud Gaming Service Provider, Google Stadia might be for you.
XBOX Cloud Gaming
- Exclusive XBOX Game Library
- Day-one game releases
- Low input latency
- Available at 1080p 60 FPS
- Only access games available within the XBOX Game Pass Library
- Higher price
Fans highly anticipated the XBOX Cloud gaming service, which Microsoft officially launched on September 15, 2020. With this game streaming service, XBOX fans will now be able to stream over 100 XBOX games through Android phones, tablets, IOS devices, and PCs. However, even after two years, this cloud service is still in Beta.
In my opinion, Xbox probably has the most innovative cloud gaming team, and the company has spent a considerable amount of resources on becoming this industry’s leader. They’re making revolutionary breakthroughs every few months. For instance, the company is now experimenting with games running right from its own browser, Bing!
Overall, Microsoft made a great product out of the XBOX Cloud gaming. If you have a decent PC or at least an XBOX Console, you’ll be able to access all of the games on the XBOX Game Pass. If you’re looking for a great Cloud Gaming Company, look no further than Microsoft!
- A wide array of games spanning from PS2 to PS4 Games
- Very cheap
- It supports 1080p at 60 FPS on some selected games
- Noticeable Input Lag
- Sony removes some of the games from time to time.
Playstation Now is probably the oldest Cloud Gaming service as of this date. Sony launched this program back in 2014 and is available on the Playstation Consoles and the PC. However, this service is not available on mobile phones. There were rumors that Sony planned on bringing this service to mobile devices, but we still don’t have any updates regarding this news.
Although Playstation Now has been one of the best cloud gaming services with its vast selection of exclusive Playstation games, it still falls short on the PC due to its technical difficulties. Then again, if you want to check on the exclusive Playstation games, you can do so by subscribing to Playstation Now.
- Supports 4k at 60 FPS or 1080p at 144 FPS
- Unlimited time during your gaming session
- Low input latency
- High cost
- Lack of servers makes access for other countries difficult.
- Dated hardware
Shadow is a bit different from your typical cloud gaming service. It’s more of borrowing an entire computer and streaming it to your PC, a cloud computing service. Here are the PC specifications they’ll lend to you once you acquire their services.
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 or something equivalent|
|Processor||4 Cores/8 Threads|
|Storage||256 GB SSD + Secured Storage, upgradeable to 2 TB HDD|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64 Bit|
All of those sound a bit dated, and you’re right that hardware is severely outdated. However, Shadow makes up with the unlimited time you get while renting their PCs.
Although Shadow’s services are not ideal for cloud gaming, it still is one of the best options if you want to get a cloud computing PC for your own needs.
- Supports 4k Twitch integration support
- Currently offers 1080p at 60 FPS streaming
- Relatively cheap
- Very low input lag
- Still relatively new, expect bugs and disconnects
- Windows 10 application has a few issues
Amazon Luna is one of the recently launched Cloud Gaming Services from Amazon themselves. From what it currently is, it seems that Amazon Luna is a direct competitor to Xbox’s Cloud Gaming platform that offers a catalog of games under a much cheaper monthly subscription fee. It is currently available on Fire TV, PC, Mac, Android Phones via web applications.
Here are the pros and cons of using Amazon Luna
Amazon is new in the Cloud Gaming Companies; however, they have a bright future. Amazon Luna is a great contender if the developers correctly support this platform. Seeing now that Amazon openly launched this program, we expect a few hiccups since this service was only available via invite-only prior to its full release.
- Provides a cheap hourly plan
- Install games from Steam, Origin, Epic Games, and Blizzard
- Allocates a certain amount of space for your downloaded games
- Limited to Microsoft Windows
- Performance may vary due to the hardware change
- Servers are only within Europe
Playkey is an excellent alternative to Geforce Now. It has a lot of games available, ranging from Steam, Origin, Epic Games, Blizzard, and even standalone pay-to-play games such as Escape from Tarkov.
What stands out for Playkey is that it offers an hourly service, which is perfect for working professionals who do not have the time to play games casually. They offer an unlimited monthly plan of about $49; however, it is much more expensive than its competitors.
Playkey is a solid entry if you’re near its servers and offers a great deal whether you’re a student or a professional with minimal time for playing games.
- Offers an hourly rate per part of the cloud machine
- Allows creation of a cloud machine with your preferred specs
- Three data centers in East and West Coast of America and Europe
- Allows access from the browser as well
- Very expensive monthly billing
- Very tedious when setting the entire cloud machine for gaming
Paperspace is a different type of cloud gaming service. Instead of renting a specific computer with a particular set of specifications, you’ll create a cloud machine based on your preference. Now, this part confuses most people who are mostly in it for gaming rather than a whole working PC.
In Paperspace, you have a lot of “tiers” of PC parts to choose from. Ranging from a low-end GPU to a high-end one. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to select your CPU and even the storage size for your cloud computing machine. After you have selected your hardware, you’ll then be able to see the pricing for your specifications at an hourly or monthly rate.
If you’re only in it for gaming, then it’s better to go for an hourly rate. Monthly rates are a lot more expensive and can generally build you a low-end gaming PC. Although this isn’t the go-to place for cloud gaming specifically, it is a decent alternative to the other selections in this list.
Available on both Android and Microsoft Windows
Almost 300+ free games are readily available
Basic and Pro monthly configuration allows flexible payment plans
Limited time when choosing the Monthly Plan
Not all games are playable within their servers.
Doesn’t save the game if you quit out while using one of their accounts.
Netboom is a 2019 cloud-based gaming platform with no downloads or updates for their games on their catalog. They have over 300 games on their website and allow you to play games you don’t own, provided that you have no guarantee of saving your progress.
The cloud gaming service has two tiers, basic and pro. Pro tiers have generally more gaming time than its basic tiers; however, upon viewing the website, we can’t confirm if the performance of the games is the same as there is no available information. There’s also no information on the availability of the servers.
Netboom is perfect for people who are looking to game on an old laptop or PC.
Hourly-based rent is useful for people who don’t game constantly
AirGPU has multiple available servers, from Asia to America.
Available on Windows, macOS, Android, and even iOS.
No native application for Android or iOS
AirGPU is a high-end cloud machine that provides one of the best services in today’s cloud gaming industry. With their services, you’d expect to get the ideal way to play cloud gaming, and you are correct. Their cloud services offer a low-latency yet high quality when it comes to gaming. However, there is one major drawback.
The pricing of AirGpu is what we would consider “premium.” According to a video review on youtube, playing Modern Warfare for almost two hours costs around $10 or so. Yikes! However, you get what you pay for. With up to 4k resolution and 60 FPS, you surely can’t go wrong with AirGPU.
Game streaming will most likely take off in the future, considering the inflated prices in GPU we are currently experiencing. The real winner here in this list would be the XBOX Cloud Gaming, which offers a decent amount of games for the price, a seamless gaming experience, and the added feature of the XBOX Game pass accessible to consumers.
We have to give an honorable mention to the Amazon Luna; while it is relatively new, based on the reviews, it looks like this Cloud Gaming Service would have a bright future ahead of its release.
Are there any other Cloud Gaming Companies that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.