Best Cloud Gaming Services

With the development of broadband Internet, the concept of cloud gaming has become possible: the game is launched on a powerful remote server, and you connect to it over the network from any device that can play streaming video. It can be an old computer, a weak laptop, a tablet, or even a smartphone. The device transmits commands to the server from the keyboard or gamepad and receives an image from the game.

What Is Cloud Gaming?

If you play on a regular computer offline, the data is processed and converted into an image by the internal hardware of the PC. In the case of cloud gaming, the principle remains much the same, but the data path increases. After trying to start the game, a request is sent to the virtual server of the company providing the services, all the procedures for processing information take place there, and then it, already ready-made (as a picture), comes to our device. Let’s consider all popular cloud gaming services.

GeForce NOW

  • Required connection: from 15 Mbps.
  • Video stream quality: up to Full HD 60 fps.
  • Built-in library of games: no.
  • Launching your games: yes.
  • Price: Free / $15 per month.

One of the best cloud gaming services, which is officially available. With GFN, you can launch your games from Steam, EGS, Origin, Battle.net, and other stores on any device. Supported computers and laptops with Windows and macOS, Nvidia Shield TV set-top box, as well as smartphones and tablets on Android and iOS (although iOS is still in beta status).

The basic GFN subscription allows you to play for free with a waiting line and a limit of no more than 1 hour per session. A premium subscription to the service gives priority when connecting to servers, increases the duration of continuous sessions to 6 hours, and also adds support for RTX technology and various bonuses from publishers. When comparing cloud gaming services, GeForce NOW leads in all metrics.

What Is Cloud Gaming

PlayStation Now

  • Required connection: from 5 Mbps.
  • Video stream quality: up to Full HD 60 fps.
  • Built-in library of games: 700 games.
  • Launch your games: no.
  • Price: $10 per month.

The second place in the list of cloud gaming services is occupied by PlayStation Now from Sony, which would allow you to plunge into the world of God War, The Last of Us, Uncharted, and other PlayStation exclusives without buying the console itself. You can play on computers with Windows, as well as PlayStation 4 and 5. You do not need to pay separately for the games: they are included in the subscription price. All you need is a Dualshock gamepad or any other XInput compatible gamepad. As a bonus for console owners, there is an option to download game files for local launch. This function is supported by about 300 games.

Therefore, to buy a PlayStation Now subscription, you’ll have to create an account in the country where it is supported (USA, UK) and use gift certificates to top up your balance.

Project Atlas

Electronic Arts’ own cloud gaming service. It is still under development. It is assumed that users of the service would only have access to those games that are available in Origin Access. But, the appearance of games from the publisher’s partners is not excluded.

The app is also useful for game developers who can use computing from remote servers. But gamers can use all the powers of the servo in order to run their favorite games. At the moment, the PROJECT ATLAS service is in the testing stage, and it can be assumed that the release would take place soon.

Project Atlas vs Vortex

Vortex

  • Required connection: from 10 Mbps.
  • Video stream quality: HD 60 fps.
  • Built-in library of games: is.
  • Launch your games: no.
  • Price: from $10 per month.

The popular cloud service Vortex stands out among other top cloud gaming services. This is a service with a built-in catalog of games, some of which are available to subscribers for free. For the rest, you’ll need a license purchased in advance. You can play both on computers with Windows and macOS, and on mobile devices with Android, including virtual reality helmets and TVs. There is no access to full-fledged launchers, so you won’t be able to install your game: you have to be content with a library of optimized projects. By the way, it has all the popular games, and it is regularly updated.

Vortex provides three tariffs, which differ in broadcast quality, amount of playing time, and the number of games in the library. The minimum version is HD stream, 50 hours per month and 78 games, the maximum – Full HD, 140 hours and 170 games.

Parsec

Very high quality and convenient cloud gaming service from the USA. If you are located anywhere in the world, then you’ll definitely not have problems with ping, thanks to the fact that Parsec works with Amazon Web Services and Paperspace. They have placed their servers in different countries. This allows users to rent cloud power for work, play, or computing. The service provides excellent picture quality in video games without freezing or other interference. Parsec has a very beautiful design for its application and creates a sense of professionalism and trust in the service.

xCloud cloud gaming

xCloud

  • Required connection: from 5 Mbps.
  • Video stream quality: HD 60 fps.
  • Built-in library of games: is.
  • Launch your games: no.
  • Price: $15 per month.

Microsoft’s proprietary service, which is included in the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, but is still in beta status. Now it is available on Android devices, but within a couple of months it should appear on Windows (along with an increase in quality to Full HD. You can play both via Wi Fi and via mobile Internet in the Halo, Forza series and a hundred more games, not buying them separately.

At the moment, the service has a regional restriction and you need a VPN to use it. However, the latter is only needed when starting the game, then you can turn it off to increase the connection speed.

Google Stadia

Google Stadia is not just a cloud service for remotely launching games from popular libraries, but a full-fledged cloud platform based on the Linux kernel, which requires developers to separately port their projects to its unique architecture. Google Stadia is a very safe gaming cloud service trusted by thousands of users.

To sign up and use the full power of the Google Stadia cloud platform, you need a consistent VPN connection.

There are three ways to access the games:

  • Subscribe to Stadia Pro for $9.99 per month. It significantly expands the library of games available, and also gives premium users the benefit of increased discounts during in-store sales.
  • Subscribe to Ubisoft + for $14.99 per month. It provides access to key Ubisoft projects.
  • Purchase a digital copy of the game from the Stadia Store.

The cloud console also has exclusive features that add a range of interactive experiences. For example, a dedicated mode for streamers allows them to interact with the audience while streaming live on YouTube.

4Cloud

Service with an hourly rate, which depends on the chosen game. In remote mode, you can run both games developed for PC and titles for the PlayStation platform. At the same time, the cloud gaming service offers good free games for those who want to try a new format.

However, this service received many negative comments that after the renewal of the subscription, 4Cloud does not provide its service. We advise you to try the free period and not invest money here.

Shadow cloud gaming

Shadow

Another popular cloud service with a large base of games and full 4K gaming at 60 frames per second. You can run them from a PC (Windows and macOS), laptop, tablet, or smartphone (Android and iOS).

The Shadow cloud service was created by the French company Blade. Has been working since 2016. Each user is provided with a separate computer. A subscription for US residents costs $35 per month. If paid for the year, the cost would be $25.

In 2021, the service was sold to a large hosting provider, from which it had previously rented capacity. As of the summer of 2021, the Shadow service is experiencing a number of issues related to the delay in the launch of new tariffs.The authors of the blog want to say that now it is not worth selling a gaming PC and completely leaving the “cloud”. We just talked about how does cloud gaming work and which services are the best at the moment. If you ask: “Are there any free cloud gaming services?”, there are a lot of them in our selection.

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