Probably one of the most exciting innovations in gaming is the introduction of cloud gaming services. Rather than needing that expensive gaming PC or console, you will be able to access the same quality experience directly from the cloud. You are probably interested to know more and to hear which service you should subscribe too. It is lucky you are here as we take you on a tour of the future of gaming.
What is cloud gaming?
Let’s start with the basics, giving a brief introduction to the concept behind cloud gaming. The term refers to any game that you play remotely from the cloud. A cloud means a data center filled up with state-of-the-art servers that you access to play the game. The data that you would typically have to download to your console or PC is held on these servers, and you tap into it from your home via an internet connection. It is pretty similar to Netflix – but rather than stream films, you stream games.
While we would love to tell you there are free cloud gaming services, there aren’t any. Even though the term “free cloud gaming service” is Googled an astonishing 6500 times per month, there aren’t any. Even if they say they are, know two things: 1) you will pay somewhere along the line for the service you want, and 2) the quality of this service is going to be severely compromised.
So, with this in mind, let’s look at the services you would be wise to subscribe to.
While you may be tempted by all the goodies on show on some cloud services, there are only two things you want. First, you want a solid structure to the service, where the navigation is logical and fast. Second, you want low latency and so a fluid experience. You do not want to experience poor streaming, with the spinning donut appearing in peak times.
How do they do this? Well, rather than signing up for a service that puts you into a pool with other games where you share resources, you are given a dedicated cloud computer to yourself. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you are playing at peak times; you are playing in isolation and so unhindered.
This also means you are buying a full Windows 10 installation when you are subscribing to the gaming streaming service. This allows you all the facilities of Windows 10, including a customizable desktop.
The one limitation is the 156GB hard drive, which means you will need to uninstall and reinstall games a lot. However, the download speeds are insane – you will like not to notice the difference.
GeForce Now is only currently available in its Beta form; however, a lot of the features you will get to enjoy are on show. The star of said show is the 4K gaming at up to 60fps – which is rightly called the “ultra streaming mode.” You will also be able to game using your keyboard and mouse, a Dualshock 4, Xbox One or 360 controllers, or the Logitech Gamepads. The system also supports voice chat on PC and Mac. Therefore, it has all the tools in the box. The game server will also be fueled by some latest-gen computer gaming hardware – while what this is hasn’t been released; it is clear it is likely the Quadro TX 600 or similar – which would cost you a solid $5000 to own yourself.
Blacknut is positioning itself as a family cloud gaming service. Therefore, as with Netflix, the focus is on allowing simultaneous play on four screens. So, Dad can be downstairs ripping it up on Halo while daughter is upstairs navigating herself through the Skyrim sandbox. The family features also include a kids mode, which means you can limit access to age-inappropriate games. This is facilitated by the multiple profiles you can set up.
While this level of parental control is an important feature, it is not the main driver for Blacknut. The level of compatibility also makes this cloud gaming server stand out. It is supported by what seems like everything – from Windows to Linux to Android. Controller support is even more amazing. You can even use the remote control of your Smart TV, should you have one.
We include this cloud gaming server because it undoubtedly wins the days in selection. While Shadow enjoys some honors for the range of games you can play, Playstation Now has more than 800 titles to choose from. The library is also entirely free, which means you do not need to purchase the license to play a specific game. The only fee you pay is the subscription fee.
However, we are here to offer positive reviews for the best cloud gaming services. While Playstation will give you a choice, it will not provide the service and structure you desire. At peak times, the latency issues are almost unbearable, making the playing of a co-op game almost impossible. So, we would suggest you look to Shadow for the selection and the structure.