The world of gaming has changed drastically since the Mario and old Nintendo years. Today, gaming is all about larger than life graphics and the ‘real world’ feel. And that is why, so many cloud services for gamers have been launched.
A major issue with gamers has always been the high configuration requirements of PC games. The bigger the title, the higher configuration it needs.
We all know how frustrating it can be when a game freezes right when you are about to kill an enemy or make that finicky jump.
What is Cloud Gaming?
Cloud gaming services are also called on-demand cloud services and basically refer to games which are not stored in your computer or device, but kept on a company’s server. All you get at your end is client side software which connects to the company’s server and retrieves the game.
The main advantage of using a cloud based service is that you don’t have to upgrade game software every time a new update comes in. And most importantly, you don’t have to worry about system requirements for a new game upgrade.
Recently, one of the biggest names when it comes to cloud gaming, OnLive, was shut down. A part of the company was bought by Sony, which took over about 140 patents of the company. The patents acquired by Sony will most likely be used in service of the PlayStation brand.
OnLive, like its other contemporaries, used to give gamers a way to run games without having to install them on their systems. This meant that gamers had all the freedom they wanted to run almost any title, without having to worry about their device configurations.
But now that OnLive is under its gravestone, it’s time to look at other alternatives and see what they have in store for the world’s gamers.
G-cluster has been giving companies like Microsoft and Sony stiff competition for years. Technically, the company calls itself a cloud game console, but really, there isn’t any physical video game console. All you get is a small device which, when plugged into your TV, allows you to play all the major games from large studios.
After its amazing success in Europe, the company has finally started expanding in the US. Its main consumers aren’t really game players, rather broadband companies who want to offer games as a bonus to their customers.
G-cluster works with companies like Disney and Ubisoft (creator of titles such as Splinter Cell, Far Cry, Rayman Legends and Assassin’s Creed). We don’t know if the company can take over Xbox and PlayStations, but it certainly is shaping up to be a tough contender.
After acquiring Gaikai in 2012, Sony transformed it into their own gaming cloud platform for Sony devices like PlayStations, Smart TVs and Blu-ray discs. With PlayStation Now, you can directly start streaming games on the following compatible Sony devices: PS4, PS3, PS VITA and PSTV.
Through this service, you can start gaming on one device and continue gaming on the other one (the PS4 and PS Vita currently support this capability). This means you will never, ever have to put your game on pause or even down. Wherever you go, your game comes along (even to the toilet).
Of course, this is Sony and everything comes with a price. PlayStation Now is available on subscription basis and it costs $19.99 for monthly use and $49.99 for three months. The service also gives its customers a 7-day trial period.
The good part is, you get access to a massive library of PS3 games, but the bad part is that you need to have a Sony device to use it.
Known as the ‘Netflix of Games,’ GameFly is currently only available on Samsung Smart TVs and Amazon Fire TV. Apart from that, you would also need recommended peripherals, which include: Xbox wired controller, Logitech F310 and Logitech F710.
The company provides bundles of games for fixed prices. For $6.99/month, you get seven games in a bundle. There are a variety of bundles that you can choose from, each of which is focused around a certain theme. While one bundle offers adventure games like the Batman Arkham series and Darksiders II, another pack has games like Red Faction and Mafia II.
GameFly also offers a ‘gamer pack’ which has 16 games for $9.99/month. While GameFly has the same concept as PlayStation Now, there isn’t really a competition between them right now because both operate on separate devices.
Microsoft is also in talks to launch its own streaming service for Xbox.
This cloud gaming service was launched as a partnership between LG Smart TVs and the Ubitus gaming company. Basically, through GameNow, you can transform a regular LG TV into a powerful gaming console. But of course, it isn’t as powerful as an Xbox or PlayStation.
At least with GameNow, you don’t have to wait for long downloads or even longer installation times. Though this service was initially only launched for LG Smart TVs, it has expanded its services to: Google TV, Verizon, Windows and OSX. Games on the service include Batman: Arkham City and Street Fighter X Tekken.
With StreamMyGame, you can play high-end games on low-end devices. Basically, it lets you remotely play Windows based games on other Linux and Windows devices. The fun thing about this service is the game record and sharing features it comes with, being one of the few streaming game services that comes with same sharing and recording features found on the Xbox One and PS4.
The membership to this streaming service is absolutely free and you get access to community services like chat and forums. Game categories include: first person shooter, simulation, strategy, racing, sports, RPG, adventure and family.
Well, now that we’ve shared our top five best cloud gaming services, it’s time you shared yours with us.
Do you use cloud gaming services to get your game on? Let us know down below in the comments section.