Top 5 Cloud Game Streaming Services
What do we mean by Game Streaming and what are the best cloud gaming services available so far? Let’s find out the answer in this article.
It is no secret that playing video games on a computer requires exceptional capabilities in terms of power and cost that exceeds thousands of dollars, and choosing compatible parts is a difficult process for some.
On the other hand, consoles, or consoles, are also expensive, with prices starting at $300 and going up to $500 with the next generation.
Therefore, it was necessary to devise a new solution that helps as many people as possible to enter the world of video games, regardless of the possibilities, at a lower cost, and without the need to own certain devices.
This is where Game Streaming comes in, as it is a relatively new way to play video games with on-demand streaming, much like Netflix.
With these services, any device can be converted into a gaming computer at the lowest possible cost. This means that you won’t need a super-powerful device or a lot of storage space on the console to play as many games at a high graphics level – instead, you’ll only need a laptop, a modest computer or even a smartphone, a good internet connection, and a monthly subscription fee the service.
Although this technology is still new, cloud gaming services may be the real future of games, and we have noticed that major technology companies are clearly focusing on them.
Currently, there are some Game Streaming cloud services available, and each service works a little differently from the others and has various advantages, so we are working through this topic to guide you to choose the best service among the options currently available, but before we start, let’s quickly explain how the game service works cloud.
How does Game Streaming work?
All Game Streaming cloud services, without exception, operate with complete dependence on the Internet connection, because the games are played via physical servers and devices of the service affiliate, and are accessed remotely.
When you subscribe to the service, you have a computer on the Internet with super capabilities to play your favourite video games instead of playing them on your humble device to access the “virtual” computer and play the game, all you need is to install a small program on your device.
The function of this program is simply to act as a link between your current device and the cloud gaming service to transmit what is happening on the “virtual” computer in front of you on the screen and then record clicks from the mouse and keyboard and translate them into commands to control the game.
In short, you are controlling a computer that is not in front of you, and you see everything that the computer displays on your device screen. But since these services are completely dependent on the internet connection, you need a fast connection in order to get the desired benefit from them.
If your internet is slow, you will notice a delay in sending commands, which will spoil your gaming experience completely. While a fast connection will make most games perfectly playable, especially the shooting games, where every frame makes a difference.
1. PlayStation Now
- Available on PS4, PS5, PC
- Price: $10 per month
The Japanese giant Sony has a large library of the best video games developed by studios and development companies affiliated with them, but access to that library and playing the games it contains previously required owning one of the “PlayStation” platforms of any generation.
But thanks to PlayStation Now, Sony’s video game library is no longer exclusive to PlayStation devices but has expanded to be playable on PCs as well.
And if the user plays PlayStation Now on a computer, all he needs is a Sony DualShock 4 controller, either wireless or based on a USB cable, to enjoy games.
Side-by-side operation requires a PlayStation Network account and an Internet connection speed of at least 5 Mbps. As for PlayStation 4 users, they can enjoy the service experience with only one condition, which is to provide a high connection speed, not less than 5 megabits as well.
PlayStation Now is free for a 7-day trial period, after which a monthly fee of $10, $25 for a three-month subscription, or a $60 annual subscription.
But once you get the service, you will get instant access to a huge collection of more than 800 games, knowing that the library is updated and new games are added every month, giving you a new set of games to enjoy throughout the subscription period.
For PS4 players, a PlayStation Now subscription includes full access to multiplayer support, without the need to sign up separately for PlayStation Plus.
The save files will be compatible with both PC and PS4. Among the advantages offered by the PlayStation Now service is the ability to download and play some games directly from the user device, so that you can enjoy your favourite video games even in the event of an internet outage.
More than 250 PS4 games are eligible to download, support for DLC content, and other features that come with the digital versions of PS4 consoles. By the way, the service currently offers some old exclusives on PlayStation including Uncharted 3, Killzone: Shadow Fall, The Last of Us, Until Dawn, God of War III: Remastered, and Bloodborne.
The service offers a range of games developed by third-party studios such as Dishonored, Batman: Arkham games, BioShock trilogy and Saints Row IV.
It is worth noting that the PlayStation Now service is in the process of obtaining a possible upgrade, thanks to the partnership that took place between Sony and Microsoft. The two companies will integrate Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology to improve the streaming experience and enhance Sony’s AI capabilities.
Separating that, the content quality, according to the company, will reach 1080p and higher, which puts it in the line competition with other services such as GeForce Now from Nvidia, and the service will reach more devices, including mobile phones.
The service is not yet officially available in the Middle East, and it is available in most European countries as well as Canada, Japan and the United States.
2. GeForce Now
- Available on: Chromebook, PC, Mac, Nvidia Shield, Android
- Price: Free “Limited” – $5 per month
If you own an Apple Mac, Nvidia Shield home entertainment device, or a modest PC but want to play the latest video games, with Nvidia’s cloud gaming service, GeForce Now, you can achieve that without worrying about your computer freezing or having to run a tool Bootcamp to install Windows on your Mac.
In 2015, specifically on September 30, GeForce Now was launched for the first time in a beta phase that came out on February 4, 2020, to be generally available as a way to help players run their favourite games across different platforms.
But at the time of this writing, GeForce Now only works in North America and Europe and is expected to arrive later in the Middle East. Unlike many of the Game Streaming cloud services on our list, GeForce Now does not offer any games, the service is only responsible for providing the environment necessary to play your favourite video games, represented on a high-tech computer, and the video games themselves are the responsibility of the subscriber.
That is, you must purchase the games you want to play through digital game stores such as Steam, Uplay, Blizzard, and others. Once the service software or application is installed on your device, GeForce Online processors will allow you to run the game at the highest graphic settings, from any device, regardless of its specifications.
One of the conditions of using GeForce Now is as usual to provide a high connection speed, where it is recommended that the connection speed be 15 Mbps as a minimum and up to 25 Mbps for the perfect experience.
You must have a computer with macOS 10.10 or higher or Windows 7 or higher, a 64-bit version. The method of your connection to the Internet must also be via an “Ethernet” cable or via Wi-Fi using the frequency of 5 GHz.
You are free to choose to control the games with either the mouse and keyboard or the controller. Additionally, GeForce Now’s gameplay policy is session-based, meaning that the service can be used to play games for a limited amount of time, but the length of time depends on the subscription membership.
The service can be used completely free of charge with standard access to most features and a maximum gaming session of one hour, after which the player is forced to start a new session in order to ensure that the servers continue to function for other players.
The Founders membership for $5 per month gives the user the priority access feature, which allows resuming playing after the session ends faster than the free membership and the waiting times between sessions are few.
Currently, the service is compatible with a large selection of more than 650 games, although you have to purchase them to use them with the service, and the library of games compatible with the service is expected to grow gradually.
You can find out all the games compatible with the service through ( this page ).
3. Google Stadia
- Available on: PC, Mac, Google Chromecast Ultra, Android
- Price: Free “Limited” – $10 per month
Google entered the field of cloud games Game Streaming in 2019, specifically November 19, the date of the launch of the Google Stadia service, which for the first time allows the ability to play games in the cloud with a resolution of up to 4K and only through the Chrome browser.
The service provides streaming across different devices and platforms, including smartphones, computers, tablets, and even TVs via Chromecast Ultra. So Google claims that Stadia can effectively replace traditional consoles.
Google Stadia gives you access to many giant games but most of the games are not free and must be purchased and enjoyed within Stadia only.
The bright side is that the service handles game updates independently so that the player does not have to wait before launching the game for the update to finish. But Google Stadia has very unique advantages, for example, there is an integration between the service and YouTube, which allows the creator to add a link to a game in the description of the video and when the viewer clicks on it, he immediately goes to Stadia where he can walk around the game and possibly join a match with the owner of the channel when broadcasting Live game on YouTube. Not only does it end here, but the channel owner can also allow a particular viewer to resume playing where they left off.
Stadia receives exclusive games for limited periods, with the game library containing over 100 games and constantly updated. However, the service is still far from competing with home consoles such as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
The situation may change later, especially with the growth of the internal development team at Google led by veteran game producer Jade Raymond, and also Google’s acquisition of game development company Typhoon Studios.
For the full experience, Stadia comes with a wireless controller, device, and Chromecast Ultra device to keep LAG lag to a minimum.
Chromecast Ultra allows you to stream games directly to your TV without additional hardware, which is a great feature of course, and games can also be played on Android devices or PCs.
Access to the service costs $129 for a wireless controller and Chromecast Ultra, while you’ll need to pay $10 a month to run the service permanently.
Of course, Stadia is certainly one of the most powerful Game Streaming cloud services today, but we recommend waiting until a better selection of games is available. If you do not own a console, the service will be a quick way to enjoy popular video games, and you can cancel your subscription if you find out that it is not suitable for you.
Currently, you can use the service for free but the game quality is limited to 1080p which is fairly good. Or you can upgrade to a Pro membership for $10 per month to play games in 4K along with a library of ‘Free Games’ every month and exclusive discounts.
The service is not yet officially available in the Middle East, and it is available in most European countries as well as Canada and the United States.
- Available for Windows and Android devices
- Price: included in the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription
Google is not the only company that aims to allow playing games in the cloud with superior quality, there is Microsoft, the American software giant, which competes through the xCloud service that was first announced in 2018, but the official launch took place on September 15, 2020, and the goal is, of course, to remove the restrictions that It associates players with the necessity of having a powerful computer to enjoy the giant video games.
Using Microsoft’s Azure data centres, xCloud allows users to play high-quality games, usually requiring a powerful Xbox platform, anywhere there is a fast enough internet connection without having to buy an Xbox or a super-powered PC. With modest specifications, a smartphone or tablet. Note that the service also allows you to use your Xbox as a server (or laptop) to enjoy your favourite games from anywhere at no additional cost.
In addition to the above, the xCloud service allows you to connect a joystick to the device used via Bluetooth, which helps reduce the time of navigation during gaming, unlike the Stadia service, which requires the joystick to be connected via Wi-Fi.
So far, the service has more than 100 games to play in the clouds across different platforms, and even games can be enjoyed on TV through Game Pass.
And since xCloud follows the same approach as subscriptions offered by Microsoft, the service will support saving game data across cloud platforms. This means that if you are playing a game on your Xbox One and need to leave, you can use your smartphone and resume your progress.
The great thing here is that Microsoft has decided that xCloud will be part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription that costs $15 per month, which means that you will get this service along with access to all Xbox Game Pass games in addition to the benefits of Xbox Live Gold to play online with Others as well as EA Play, which is a very attractive deal for all gamers.
- Available for Windows and Mac computers, Android and iPhone devices
- Price: $15 per month
It is one of the rising services in the field of Game Streaming, which aims to give your humble device, whatever it is, the required power capable of running the latest PC games at the highest graphical level, whether it is on a PC, Mac, TV, smartphone or tablet.
As with GeForce Now, you will need to purchase new games to play from digital stores, or alternatively, you can import your existing games from these stores such as Steam, Origin, Epic Games Store or Battle.net and play games that have already been purchased.
Currently, Shadow servers are based on GTX 1080 GPUs which are suitable for playing games in 4K at 60Hz or 1080p at 144Hz. It also comes with 12GB of DDR4 RAM and gives you access to 256GB of storage so you can install several different games simultaneously.
And unlike Google Stadia or xCloud, you still have to download and update your games, because Shadow basically lets you rent a high-powered gaming PC remotely.
In addition, there is a Shadow Ghost tool that turns your TV into a Shadow-compatible device so you can connect controllers, keyboards, mice, and other accessories to play your favourite games via Bluetooth.
And if you need to transfer your current game to a mobile device, Shadow allows you to switch to a different screen while still playing the game on your previous screen. This eliminates any potential downtime between sessions.
But it should at least provide a 15Mbps connection for better performance, and you can also use your 4G LTE connection to play on the go via your smartphone or tablet.
A Shadow subscription costs a little more than PlayStation Now or Stadia as a monthly fee of around $15 will have to be paid, while a one-year subscription will bring the monthly price down to $12. There is no free trial available, but Shadow offers a 14-day refund policy.
The service is not available in the Middle East, and it is available in some European countries and the USA.