Game streaming services give gamers the ability to play their favorite titles on the go with whatever hardware they have around. It’s a simple idea (involving complicated technology), but it’s already having a profound effect on gaming and the future of entertainment.
Every major player in the game industry and a handful of startups are launching their own versions of game streaming services, each hoping to dominate the expanding market. It’s the next big boom within the game industry, and new features are developing rapidly. But how exactly do these services work, and which one is best?
Well, this article walks you through the unique features of game streaming services and gives you an overview of the best options around. We’ll take you through the benefits of each choice and have a glimpse at what’s in the store for the future. Are you ready for adaptable gaming? Let’s get started.
What are Game Streaming Services?
Game streaming services, also known as cloud gaming, allow users to play videogames over the internet through the use of video or file streaming. In other words, gamers can play their favorite titles via a subscription to an online platform without the need for buying individual games or expensive hardware.
There are a few different variations of this model of service, and choosing the right one depends on what you’re looking for.
Services like Shadow or GeForce Now give you access to a virtual computer or processor that you can log into from different devices. This means you don’t need to buy overpriced hardware to play the newest titles, but you’ll still have to buy your own games.
On the other hand, services like Playstation Now and Jump provide a preset library of games that are kept fully updated and can be played from your console or PC. Utilizing emerging game delivery technology, you can expect latency-free and high-quality gameplay that works as though you’re playing on a high quality rig with a local install of the game.
As the required technology matures and expands, game streaming services are placing a lot of emphasis on developing methods that provide latency-free gaming with no graphic degradation. Since streaming requires constant interaction between the local machine, the cloud computer, and all your peripherals, this is a tall order.
Still, there are a number of exciting options to choose from. Every game streaming service provider has their own way of addressing the issue, each with its own formula for providing solid gameplay. Let’s have a look.
Best Game Streaming Services
In this section we’ll check out the best video game streaming services on the market. We’ve included a snapshot of features and a summary for each service.
- Blade’s game streaming service
- Access your own virtual PC from the Shadow App
- Play on PC, Mac, IOS, or Android
The French company Blade has recently entered US markets with their own solution to online video game streaming. For just $35 a month you get access to a powerful Windows 10 PC, ready and waiting for you to install your favorite titles and begin gaming.
One of the major perks of Shadow is that you can play your games from every major device. Your mobile phone transforms into a gaming juggernaut as soon as you launch the Shadow App, and delivers superior performance. Just keep in mind that a fast internet connection is required, and they are still addressing a small number of bugs. The service is currently available on the West and East coasts but will be launching nationwide soon.
- Google’s game streaming service
- Play major titles in the comfort of your Chrome Browser
- Emphasis on latency-free play and limited graphical degradation
Google’s foray into the game streaming market, Project Stream is still in beta mode with only one title, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, available to play. It’s invite only at the time of this publication, but it’s already showing strong signs of growth.
Fortunately, Google has assembled a large team to take on the challenge and initial results are promising. If you’re interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look, Google just launched an invitation request button on the homepage. Try it out and see if you can take on the challenge of the Odyssey.
- Nvidia’s game streaming service
- Free-to-play with over 400 titles
- Instant installs and no maintenance required
GeForce Now is a revolutionary game streaming service that delivers the most popular titles on the market to your PC or Mac. With cloud services that utilize the highest-performance Nvidia graphics cards and tech, you can be sure that quality and performance are covered.
When using GeForce Now, you’ll still have to buy the games you want to play, but you can expect instant installs with no maintenance required. Want to take things up a notch? Try out Ultra Streaming Mode which increased the speed of your streams to 120 FPS or more! Say goodbye to latency.
- Microsoft’s game streaming service
- Allows you to play hit titles on PC or Xbox
- Public trials begin in 2019
While Project xCloud is yet to launch a public beta, the technology behind the service seems to be top notch. The ultimate goal is to provide gamers with a quality experience no matter how they choose to play.
The team at Microsoft is currently enhancing their datacenter architecture to pave the way for their game streaming vision. You can expect latency-free connections, flawless graphics, and an intuitive platform that’s ready to launch at a moment’s notice. Sound enticing? Stay tuned.
- Sony’s game streaming service
- Stream over 650 games to your PS4 or PC
- Growing library and affordable cost
PlayStation Now is the answer to game streaming for Playstation fanatics. Already tested and ready to go, the service boasts over 650 titles ready to download and play wherever you are. With affordable costs and a growing library of games, you’re sure to get your money’s worth.
Plus, the PSN service offers gamers the chance to play their favorite console titles on the PC. All you need is a Dualshock 4, a wireless adapter, and you’re set to go. Sound too good to be true? Head on over to the Playstation Now website and start the 7-day free trial to see for yourself.
- Jump’s games streaming service
- Play over 100 indie titles for $5/month
- Latency-free, high-quality gameplay
The only game streaming service on our list that focuses exclusively on indie games, Jump is the go-to streaming service for gamers who enjoy platformers, roguelikes, puzzlers, RPGs and other indie titles. Jump supports users on PC, Mac, Linux, Vive and a handful of other devices.
The service offers unlimited access to a curated library of games, each featuring excellent performance and play quality. Plus, Jump boasts the lowest barrier to entry of any subscription service on our list at just $5 per month. Interested? Check out their website for a full 14 day free trial.
Benefits of Game Streaming Services
Compared to traditional gaming, the best gaming streaming services offer tons of unique features and many advantages over standard play. The services are adaptable, yes, but the benefits go much deeper than that.
Let’s have a look at some of the top benefits of game streaming services:
- Game streaming services offer unrivaled convenience thanks to their unique design. You can play on multiple devices, try out major titles at a fraction of the cost, and ditch the expensive hardware. They’re perfect for getting your gaming fix whenever you want.
- A few of the betas on our list are actually free to use, while the barrier to entry for services like Jump starts at just $5/month. Compared to buying expensive hardware and individual games for $60 or more, it’s an unbeatable deal!
- Game streaming services utilize the most powerful hardware on the market to deliver latency-free and high quality gameplay. With rigs and processors geared exclusively toward the gamers market, you can expect nothing but the best.
- Future-proof. The game streaming industry is just taking off, and there’s never been a better time to hop on board. Sign up for one, two, or more of the services to take advantage of all they have to offer and expect consistent updates and more titles as technology progresses and the industry booms.
- Designed for gamers. Perhaps the most important, these services are designed for gamers. Many of them actively seek user input and feedback, giving you the chance to help pave the way for the future of the industry.
Regardless of which service you use, there is a lot to gain from checking out cloud gaming. It’s an exciting time to be involved.
The Future of Game Streaming Services
The game industry is changing in just about every way. There is a wave of powerful new processors flooding the market, the steady expansion of eSports, the onset of virtual reality, and now game streaming services. Just to name a few. Now more than ever it’s important to keep up if you want to stay relevant and remain competitive.
But what does the future hold?
As technology progresses, you can expect more titles and even better performance from these services. Subscription-based products are taking off across all segments of the technology market, and it’s a process of maturation as kinks are worked out and the designs become more intuitive and easy to use.
Plus, new competitors are entering the scene on a regular basis. Nintendo, EA, and a host of other industry upstarts are on the move. It’ll only get better from here.
So if you’re a gamer who loves to try out new titles, and doesn’t want to spend a fortune on countless products, game streaming services are the option for you. Thinking about giving it a shot? The folks here at High Ground Gaming say go for it. After all, exploration and adventure is what gaming’s all about.