While many people download games or buy physical copies these days, cloud gaming is on the rise. With cloud gaming, you don’t need a powerful computer that costs thousands of dollars. All you need is a stable internet connection and you are ready to go.
With many rightly seeing cloud gaming as the future, various services are competing with each other and traditional platforms. Below are some of the best examples to keep an eye on.
What is cloud gaming?
Unlike platforms like Steam, which require digital downloads, cloud gaming uses remote computers for player connections.
Steam games run on your PC’s hardware and you may not have the strongest GPU and CPU for the job. However, cloud gaming allows users to connect to other PCs and control them over the internet. Imagine remote tech support, but instead you play “Devil May Cry 5”. After purchasing a subscription you can choose from a wide range of titles.
You don’t need a powerful PC or extra storage for games, especially if you want to play AAA titles. These games tend to take up large amounts of storage space. Some users run out of memory for games, making cloud gaming an excellent choice.
Some cloud gaming services are cross-platform and support mobile devices and laptops. There are even instances where people play games on Linux PCs.
Cloud gaming does require a stable internet connection and there will always be some delay. Still, adherents cite convenience as the advantage that convinced them.
The Best Cloud Gaming Services
Cloud gaming services are mostly on PC, but several are designed for consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. Depending on the product, you can even play on different devices.
NVIDIA GeForce Now
The graphics card giant’s dedicated cloud gaming service is growing daily. GeForce Now is aimed at gamers who already have large Steam libraries, but it also works with other launchers.
- Epic Games Store
- Ubisoft Connect
Many free-to-play games already work with GeForce Now, but the list of supported titles, paid or not, is growing all the time. You just need to buy a supported game from one of these stores and connect it to GeForce Now.
You can now use GeForce on these platforms:
- Chrome on PC and Apple devices
- Microsoft Edge
- Some TVs
- TVs with NVIDIA Shield
- Valve Steam Deck
- Xbox with a browser
With so many supported devices, it’s no wonder that many people consider GeForce Now the king of cloud gaming. It starts at free, but you can buy subscriptions for more hours of play. With the more expensive plans, you can even enable ray tracing and get priority access.
PlayStation Plus Premium
PlayStation Plus Premium is the world’s oldest cloud gaming service, although it lags behind many rivals. It’s also the only one for the PlayStation consoles, although you can stream games to a PC.
While you can access an extensive catalog of PS4 and PS5 games on the consoles themselves, only a small subset can be streamed to your gaming PC. Many generally recognize that PlayStation Plus Premium is more for the consoles than anything else.
Day One availability is not a thing for this cloud gaming service. Many titles will be added later, which will turn some gamers off.
While it’s not the best, it’s the only option for PS4 and PS5 owners, so it gets a spot on this list.
Amazon Luna is a relatively young competitor in the cloud gaming sector, although it seems unusually neglected by its parent company. There is plenty of promotional material for the special Luna Controller, but it is not mandatory to play with it. Amazon Luna is an app that you can install on these devices:
- Fire TV
- Fire tablets
- Browsers on computers and mobile devices
Amazon has modeled Luna after Prime Video, which means you have to spend more money for games. The choices are also somewhat mind-boggling, as there are more kid-friendly titles than the AAA titles people want.
The parental controls make Luna a family-friendly cloud gaming platform, but that’s not all. Since Amazon owns Twitch, you can get the benefits and rewards of Prime Gaming. You get a Prime subscription with Luna, so you don’t lose anything.
Technically, Shadow is a cloud computing service, but the terms of service don’t stop customers from gaming on their machines. Shadow’s PCs have high-end specs and run virtually any Windows app, including AAA games. It works with an app where you only need to login before installing games.
The company even allows users to customize the settings just like using their own gaming rigs. The stream is smooth, while the input lag is lower than expected. While the monthly plan is more expensive, you get high-quality hardware and treatment.
If you’re not happy with the basic plan, there’s a Power add-on for superior hardware and even 4K. You can even enable ray tracing for supported games.
Shadow offers additional storage space as an optional add-on. It is very affordable and you get 256 GB per purchase.
Shadow is compatible with the following platforms:
- Smart TVs with Android or macOS
- Meta Quest 1 and Quest 2 VR headsets
Since you are renting a computer, Shadow requires users to download games. However, it has a bandwidth of 1 GB for downloads and games are ready in no time.
All files installed on a Shadow cloud PC are protected for privacy. Rest assured that no one will look at your private information.
Blacknut is an alternative to competitors like Amazon Luna and GeForce Now. New games are added every month to the vast collection, which has reached at least 500 titles. Do not worry. You can access AAA titles and more.
Each Blacknut subscription allows users to create up to five accounts, including child accounts. You have access to parental controls that restrict children’s access to games.
Here are all of Blacknut’s supported platforms:
- Burn TVs
When you purchase a subscription, you get unlimited access to all available titles. Blacknut also strives for a family-friendly platform with no ads, making the experience seamless. The subscription has no contract. There’s nothing stopping you from trying it out.
While the library is extensive, it’s not the best option for professional streamers. Some important titles are missing, but with the steady growth they may eventually be added to the library.
Unlike some cloud gaming services, Rainway uses your PC as the host. It streams games to your other devices. Therefore, professional gamers with powerful rigs can play anywhere with an internet connection.
The list of compatible devices is as follows.
- Browsers on other devices
- Smart TVs
- Mac (currently in beta testing)
Rainway is compatible with all major launchers and game stores like Steam, Epic Games Launcher and even some that you may not know. Once the app is installed on a device, you can immediately pick up where you left off. In addition, the service is completely free with no ads.
Rainway has excellent streaming quality compared to other products, but you need a reliable Wi-Fi connection to enjoy the best experience.
Years ago, browser games were popular and resulted in a large fan base. Although Adobe Flash has been discontinued, Boosteroid allows you to play games in your browser. With a subscription, all you need to do is log in and start playing.
Boosteroid works with popular internet browsers, so anything one can handle will let you game on it. It accurately translates touch input to the original control schemes. You can customize a virtual keyboard and make sure everything is the way you want it.
The company has partnerships with companies such as NVIDIA and Intel, enabling FHD streams with 15Mbps connections.
A major weakness is the service’s vulnerability to sudden frame drops and lag. As a browser-based service, it cannot handle packets like a special program can.
Nevertheless, Boosteroid is a handy cloud gaming service that you can trust.
Game on the go
Cloud gaming may not be the most common phenomenon yet, but the technology is only getting better. In the future, input lag and stuttering will be greatly reduced. Players will feel like they are gaming natively on the device itself.
Which of these services do you think is the best? Do you know of other cloud gaming platforms? Let us know in the comment section below.