The revolution is on. For several years, many players such as Google, Microsoft, Sony, Nvidia and even Amazon have been interested in Cloud Gaming. A technology that lets you stream video games with three times nothing : a game support (smartphone, tablet, Android TV box, PC, Mac, Chromebook), a wired controller, Bluetooth or even a keyboard / mouse to play and above all a good Internet connection, because Cloud Gaming consumes a lot of data.
But if you manage to avoid this problem, then Cloud Gaming will offer you many advantages, starting with the saving of an expensive last-generation console (or even impossible to find on the market) or a powerful PC for taste the latest news in 4K. Some services even allow HDR and Ray Tracing to be activated in-game. After trying Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, Microsoft xCloud and others, here is our opinion on the best Cloud Gaming platforms of the moment.
1. Google Stadia, the best cloud gaming service
Stadia is a brand new gaming platform that lets you play games on multiple screens. Stadia is a unique place that brings together all the different ways of playing.
- Downloads: 12
- Release date : 02/08/2021
- Author : Google LLC
- Licence : Free license
Games – Leisure
- Operating system : Android – Online service All Internet browsers – iOS iPhone / iPad
Stadia is currently the most user-friendly streaming service, and this is very important to us. You can use Google’s service on any device you want, with the downside, however, on TV of having to use a Chromecast Ultra and an official controller. The Pro subscription (9.99 € / month) allows you to unlock games monthly, get discounts in the store and play in 4K HDR up to 60 FPS if your internet connection allows it. (and depending on the game!). But the advantage of Stadia is that you can also use the service for free in Full HD once your games have been purchased on the platform.
Most : Multi-support, game (almost) as beautiful as on a good gaming PC, ease of use, access to Stadia is free in Full HD,
The lessers : The quality of the service depends on your Internet connection, Stadia catalog still limited, high price of games, Chromecast Ultra + Stadia controller required to play on TV, Stadia Pro subscription required (€ 9.99 / month) to play in 4K
2. Nvidia GeForce Now, the best cloud gaming service for PCs
Take advantage of the new cloud gaming offering from NVidia, the famous computer hardware manufacturer, which allows you to play your favorite games from any device.
- Downloads: 16
- Release date : 02/10/2021
- Author : NVIDIA
- Licence : Free license
- Operating system : Android – Windows 7/8 / 8.1 / 10 – macOS
Nvidia was one of the first to enter the Cloud Gaming market with GeForce Now. And unlike other services, GeForce Now will allow you to play titles that you already own on Steam, Uplay or Riot Games. No need to buy them back, therefore, just pay for your subscription € 27.45 / 6 months. The free version means having to restart your game every hour, which is boring, but already allows you to get an idea of the quality of the service. Be careful, because not all games are compatible. A list of games exists, but note that some have disappeared from the catalog in the past. We think this is a good additional service if you play on PC. Note that only the Shield TV Pro box can use AI to upscale your games in 4K at 60 FPS with GeForce Now on your TV. Ray Tracing can also be activated in-game, and only Nvidia offers this feature.
Most : Multi-support, possibility of using games already purchased on various platforms, Ray Tracing, options like on PC, affordable subscription (€ 54.90 / year).
The lessers : Nvidia Shield box required to play on TV, only the Nvidia Shield TV Pro allows you to play in 4K upscaled on TV, catalog still limited
3. Microsoft xCloud, the best cloud gaming service that comes close to Netflix
Xbox Game Pass is an offer that allows you to play adapted Xbox video games on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet and Windows 10 PCs. To use the application you must have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
- Downloads: 4
- Release date : 02/05/2021
- Author : Microsoft Corporation
- Licence : Free license
- Operating system : Android – Windows 10 – iOS iPhone / iPad
xCloud is Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming service. To access it, you will need to subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate, a subscription at € 12.99 / month which is very interesting for gamers. You will be able to enjoy a large library of games on both PC, Xbox and xCloud. If the latter is functional, it is currently only available on Android smartphone and is captured in 720p. There’s a good chance we’ll give it top spot in our rankings once Microsoft improves it, because it is a turnkey solution that gives both access to a cloud gaming service as well as to many games.
Most : A package of services at an attractive price (€ 12.99 / month), xCloud is fluid, Xbox Studios games available as soon as they are released, multi-platform subscription
The lessers : xCloud is restricted to 720p, this service is not supported on Android TV / iOS / PC
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a bundle of services. It allows, for 12.99 € / month to access Xbox Live, the Game Pass catalog, EA Play as well as xCloud, Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming service.
Bonus. Shadow, the best cloud (gaming) computing service
Shadow is a powerful Windows-based virtual computer that you can connect to from the internet from any computer or mobile device. Your account, your computer with your applications.
- Downloads: 7
- Release date : 02/09/2021
- Author : Blade
- Licence : Commercial license
- Operating system : Android – Linux – Windows 32 bits – XP / Vista / 7/8/10 – Windows 64 bits – XP / Vista / 7/8/10 – iOS iPhone / iPad – macOS
We would have been pointed out if we had not included Shadow in our comparison, so we add it as a bonus. Unlike the other services presented above, Shadow is a cloud computing solution. It allows you to control a more or less powerful Windows 10 machine remotely from your smartphone, your PC or your tablet. And as with any PC, you can install all the programs and games you want on it. Only the Shadow Boost formula can be booked at the moment with a subscription at € 14.99 / month without commitment and another at € 12.99 / month with a one-year commitment. It gives access to a machine equipped with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU (or equivalent), 12 GB of RAM, 256 GB in SSD and a processor clocked at 3.4 GHz.
Most : Allows you to play and work, you can install all the Windows programs you want, multi-media, download speed up to 1 Gb / s, € 2.99 for each additional 250 GB (HDD)
The lessers : A lot of waiting time to subscribe, basic storage limited, beefier formulas are much more expensive
Shadow – Cloud computing service
Shadow is a French Cloud Computing service. It allows remote control of a computer from another computer, a smartphone or even a tablet. This solution is also sometimes used for playing video games.
The competing services
To make our comparison, we also tried PlayStation Now, Sony’s cloud gaming service. It allows you to play games from PlayStation 2, 3 and even 4 like Uncharted 4 or God of War streaming from a PS4, PS5 console or even a PC. The problem is that the video stream is in both cases blocked at 720p, which is not pleasant when playing on a big screen. Note that some games are downloadable on PS4 and PS5. In this case, you can hope to play your favorite titles in native resolution, so 1080p or 4K (but it will not be in cloud gaming).
Amazon has also embarked on the cloud gaming race with Luna. We already know that the service will allow you to play up to Full HD at 60 FPS on several platforms and that it will cost $ 5.99 / month. The e-commerce giant will offer a controller for sale and you will no doubt be able to stream your games on Twitch, the streaming platform dedicated to Amazon video games.
How does Cloud Gaming work?
To simplify things, you could say that Cloud Gaming works much like a video streaming service. When you launch a game, remote servers will take care of running it for you before sending you a video stream with your game. Except that unlike Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney +, Cloud Gaming services must also manage your inputs, or the keys you press to move your characters forward, and this greatly increases data consumption.
Do you need a good Internet connection for Cloud Gaming?
Playing in Cloud Gaming requires a very good Internet connection. On mobile, you can play very well in 4G or 5G, but beware of data consumption. Google announces that its Stadia service consumes nearly 12.6 GB per hour in Full HD and nearly 20 GB per hour in 4K. Fiber will be needed at home to play in optimal conditions.
Can Cloud Gaming replace my PlayStation and Xbox?
If you are a casual gamer, we are tempted to tell you yes. Cloud Gaming will save you the expense of buying a next-generation console, especially if you were going to play just one or two games. And what’s more, you can play in good conditions if you have the right equipment and a good Internet connection. But if you already have a good PC, a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X, the interest will probably be limited to mobile use for you.
Which Cloud Gaming offer is best suited to your needs?
Are you more of a console or a PC? Depending on your preference, some Cloud Gaming services will suit your requirements better. For example with GeForce Now, you will have the same parameters in game as on a PC. Google Stadia conversely limits the options as on console. Game Pass Ultimate is an interesting bunch of services if you like the Microsoft ecosystem.
Credit: Issaro Prakalung / EyeEm