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Best cloud gaming services: GeForce Now vs. Amazon Luna vs. Google Stadia and more




Being able to play the latest high-quality video games on almost any kind of PC is a hallmark of the few cloud gaming services out there. These services use a subscription model to allow users with strong internet connections to remotely tap into his servers to play all sorts of video games even on modest computer settings that cannot be run directly. We’ve spent time trying out the biggest players in the cloud gaming space to understand what works, what to expect, and why you should choose one service over the other. From game libraries to user experience to visual quality, see what these cloud gaming services have to offer.

1. GeForce Now – Best Cloud Gaming Service Overall

MSRP: Free Tier I Priority Tier ($9.99/month or $49.99/6 months) I RTX 3080 Tier ($19.99/month or $99.99/6 months)

When it comes to the best all-around experience, GeForce Now is our top pick. Many of the games you can play on this service will have to be purchased, but in reality, GeForce Now offers the best visual quality, a huge game compatibility list, and free membership plan options. With those aspects in mind, there’s little reason not to dive in, and at least try a free game like Destiny 2 or Fortnite to see if it’s for you.

Plus, even if you want to buy a few games to play on GeForce Now, you won’t be tied to the service long term. The games you play on GeForce Now are accessed through your own Steam, Epic Games Store, or other distribution service that you can load locally on your computer if you get your own gaming PC. So, if you’re just getting started with PC gaming, or just want to check out cloud gaming in general, we recommend starting here for very low cost and free.

Read the full GeForce Now review

2. Xbox Cloud Gaming – Best Value

There might be some debate about which major gaming brands make the best hardware, but for most people, it’s the game itself that determines where you play it. Xbox Cloud Gaming, a component of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, grants access to the entire Xbox Game Pass game library. Its library is impressive and ever-changing.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives you access to over 350 games including Skyrim, Deep Rock Galactic, Boyfriend Dungeon, Battlefield V and more for $14.99/month. The cloud gaming experience can have a fair amount of compression artifacts at times, but it still means playing the best games available without a heavy investment.

Read the full Xbox Cloud Gaming review

3. Amazon Luna – Best Casual Experience

MSRP: Various subscriptions from $4.99/month to $17.99/month

Amazon Luna is an extension of Amazon’s efforts in the gaming industry, with a selection of affordable and niche games to bring you a wonderfully smooth user experience. Amazon Luna is one of the cheapest and one of the most expensive subscription models on this list, depending on what you want to do, as you can split your available games into different channels and pay for them separately. will be

In particular, Amazon Luna offers a strong roster of retro, family-friendly games. It’s useful if you want to enjoy the game with your family without jumping into nostalgia or buying and connecting old or new game systems. Plus, with free rotation of games for Prime members and amazing deals from Jackbox Games, you can choose a great party for you and your friends, both locally and online.

Read the full Amazon Luna review

4. Google Stadia – Best Console Replacement

Google Stadia’s release may have been rocky and tested in 2022, but I was really surprised at how well it performed. No, but it’s a solid choice for those who want to enjoy the game on a regular basis. Get free access to purchased games. Similar to GeForce Now, but replay session time limits.

The biggest criticism of Google Stadia by fans is its poor game library. But with an impressively strong user experience and surprisingly good-looking 4K support on the Pro plan, it might be worth investing in and buying the game instead of getting the latest gaming PC or console. . Especially given the discounts on Pro games for members.

Read the full Google Stadia review

5. PlayStation Plus – Up and coming

PlayStation Plus for PC is Sony’s follow-up to its now-shutdown PlayStation Now service, and it looks like their hearts are there, but there’s still some work to be done. You’ll often have access to quite a few games, including many PlayStation exclusives from the original PlayStation all the way up to the PlayStation 4, but I ran into a few issues.

Like Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation Plus on PC is a component of a larger service, PlayStation Plus Premium, but unlike Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation Plus on PC has a lot to offer to create solid PC services and applications. need the help of From user interface to connection stability. But if you’re already a PlayStation Plus Premium member, check out the PC app.

Read our full Playstation Plus review What to Look for in a Cloud Gaming Service

There are three main aspects to consider when it comes to cloud gaming services. Technical requirements, game libraries, and our own future plans.

technical requirements

As for technical requirements, you mainly need a fast and stable internet connection. Some of these services seem to have around 10Mbps minimum, but 20Mbps or more should be good to start with any service. They all recommend using a wired internet connection. Or maybe he has specific recommendations for his Wi-Fi network at home. Additionally, if your internet service has a data consumption cap, be aware that these types of services use a lot of data, just like streaming a high-quality video.

All other technical requirements such as processing power, RAM, and monitor quality depend on your needs. But generally speaking, if your device can handle high-quality Netflix or Hulu streams, it should be able to handle cloud game streams. If you want a 4K experience with GeForce Now or Google Stadia, you’ll also need a monitor that supports it. Additionally, both Xbox Cloud Gaming and PlayStation Plus on PC require a game controller to play games on the service, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a branded controller, as long as it has enough buttons.

game library

After all, games are what you are here for. All services have their own built-in or compatible game libraries that you can explore beforehand. If you’re looking for a specific game, check what services they offer. Otherwise, if you are looking to keep up with the latest releases, keep an eye on which services are activating these new releases as soon as possible. It doesn’t look like it, but both Xbox and Google seem to be doing their best to get there, with GeForce Now closely following.

cloud gaming goals

Finally, think about what you want from your cloud gaming experience. Are you just looking for a game to play while traveling or on an extended stay with your family? Are you just getting into gaming and want a more affordable option before buying expensive hardware? Just want to be able to play a specific game with a group of friends? Each of the major cloud gaming services seems to have a different approach to what they offer, and you can hunt around for the right one.

How to test cloud gaming services

Getting technical specs when possible, testing each service in the same place for comparison, trying to get a more subjective perspective on whether they’re comfortable, etc., digging deep into all these services to see if they’re Got the best feel for what they offer. play.

Our primary test location was Texas, USA, and we had a Home Spectrum Internet connection with a minimum of 400Mbps downstream and 25Mbps upstream, up to about +10% on both speeds. We tested latency against key server locations for each game session to ensure there were no unexpected issues. GeForce Now was the only service with its own speed test and troubleshooting tools. So we made sure the conditions were good and recorded other speed and latency stats to replicate our connection with other cloud gaming services as much as possible. As much consistency as possible.

All tests were done on a custom gaming PC with a Ryzen 7 1700X CPU, 32GB of Corsair DDR4-3600 RAM, an EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB XC3 Ultra GPU, and both 1080p and 4K monitors. For control, we used the same Razer Basilisk v2 mouse and Corsair K70 RGB Pro keyboard where appropriate, and both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers connected to the PC via USB cables. All tests were done on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit OS.

Some, but not all, services offer both a web browser interface and a standalone Windows application for browsing and launching games. All tests were done both in the relevant case and with a full review reference that seems to provide a better experience for both browsing and playing. For web browser access, I’ve tested both Firefox and Google Chrome and found very little difference between them, except for Stadia, which invokes Chrome.

In terms of gaming performance, we were unable to obtain accurate frames per second or benchmark data for all services, so data for these comparisons was not measured directly. This has mostly to do with information obfuscation, and since most cloud gaming services run console versions of their games on their platforms, many of the PC testing options are not available for in-game testing. Even if we could, our performance stats wouldn’t necessarily match someone else’s. Because these results are closely related to internet speed and latency issues. This may simply depend on how far your PC is from the service’s data center.

The gameplay feel has come down to some testing. Some games are available on multiple services, so play the same game on multiple services to see if responsiveness etc. feels the same between them. Specifically select games that require what people consider “tight” or quick-response controls to successfully play, such as mers, fighting games, and action RPGs. Additionally, compare the cloud gaming experience to playing the same game locally on a test rig to see if anything is noticeably offensive. Results are subjective and can be more pronounced for more experienced players, especially in a competitive gaming space.




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