Cloud gaming service providers invest in expensive gaming equipment and lease them out to subscribers to experience the maximum thrills from their favorite games.
A good cloud gaming service provider offers or enables as many game titles as possible, while delivering gaming videos in the highest resolutions to maximize the experience.
There are many such services out there, but they are not all equal. So, this blog lists the 10 best cloud gaming service providers with their highlights, to help you make a better-informed choice.
Helpful Tips For Cloud Gaming
Following are some helpful tips to aid you in choosing the right cloud gaming service provider and getting the best experience.
- Check Device Support: From smartphones to PCs, tablets, and smart TVs, choose a cloud gaming service that supports the devices that you plan to use.
- Check The Game Library: Make sure that any provider has your favorite games in their library or enables them in other ways before you decide to sign up with them.
- Good Gaming Controller: You may want to invest in a gaming controller that is compatible with your chosen service provider to boost your gaming experience.
- Good Internet Connection: Cloud gaming includes streaming videos with low latency. So make sure you’ve got a fast and stable Internet connection for the best experience. A 10 to 50 Mbit/s bandwidth is recommended.
Best Cloud Gaming Service Providers
|1.||GeForce NOW||4K videos, ray tracing, 1,500+ games||Freemium||nvidia.com|
|2.||Amazon Luna||Included with prime, works on all devices||$4.99/mo||amazon.com|
|3.||Shadow||Cloud-based PC, full control||$29.99/mo||shadow.tech|
|4.||Parsec||Remote connection, fully customizable||Freemium||parsec.app|
|5.||Xbox Cloud||382+ games, 28+ countries||$15 / mo||xbox.com|
|6.||PlayStation Plus||PlayStation, multi-player, storage||$9.99 / mo||playstation.com|
|7.||BlackNut||Simple platform, flexible management||$15.99/mo||blacknut.com|
|8.||PlayKey||Time-based lease, free & paid games||$1/hour||playkey.net|
|9.||Boosteroid||Browser-based, In Beta||€7.49/mo||boosteroid.com|
|10.||Netboom||Android based, attractive pricing||$4.90/mo||netboom.com|
1. GeForce NOW
Highlights: 4k videos, 1,500+ games, 120+ FPS
GeForce NOW is a cloud gaming service from Nvidia, the leading GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) maker that’s used by gamers and supercomputers alike.
The platform allows you to play 1,500+ games from either your web browser, SHIELD device, Windows, Android, Smart TV, or other devices. The system also works with a range of hardware, including Xbox controllers, Sony PS5 DualSense, Logitec Gamepad, and more.
You can play GeForce NOW for free with Nvidia’s free plan. However, each session is limited to one hour, and you may even have to wait in the queue. But with a paid membership for $9 per month, you get faster access, extended gaming sessions up to many hours, higher resolutions, and maximum graphics settings with real-time ray tracing for incredibly realistic effects.
Unlike other platforms, though, you can only play and stream game titles here that you already own. The system connects to game stores like Steam, Epic, and Ubisoft to authenticate your account before you can play.
2. Amazon Luna
Highlights: Included with Prime membership, works on all devices, Twitch broadcast
Pricing: From $4.99 per month
Amazon Luna is a cloud gaming service that is freely available to Amazon Prime members. It offers a limited selection of free games with the Prime subscription, but you can access more games with different Luna subscriptions.
Amazon Prime costs $14.99 per month and includes free delivery from Amazon and tons of other free stuff, including the Luna cloud gaming platform. A Luna+ account costs $9.99 and includes lots of classics and favorite games, while Ubisoft and JackBox games cost $17.99 and $4.99 per month, respectively.
You can play Luna on all your devices, including Windows, macOS, iPads, Fire TV, Android, and smart TVs. It also supports many controllers, including the Luna controller, smartphone, touchscreen, keyboard, Playstation, and Xbox. You can further broadcast your Luna games to Twitch.
Highlights: Cloud-based PC, full control
Pricing: $29.99 per month
Shadow is not exactly a cloud gaming service provider. It provides cloud-based computers that you can use for all purposes, and this includes gaming.
A basic Shadow plan costs $29.99 per month and offers you a 64-bit Windows 10 PC with a GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, 4-core and 8-thread Intel Xeons at 3.5 GHz, 12 GB RAM, and 256 GB storage. There is also a Power Upgrade option that can increase the RAM to 16 GB and the GPU to a GeForce RTX 3070 or equivalent card.
Shadow works on most devices, including Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and tvOS. Unlike other platforms, however, no games are available. So, you will need to do the installations by yourself. Still, it is a great option if you need a cloud system for other applications besides gaming.
Highlights: Remote connection system, multi-platform, fully customizable
Parsec is a remote-desktop connection app that works on many platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and web browsers. It allows you to connect to either your PC or a cloud machine for either work or play.
Parsec initially offered access to cloud-based machines that are ready for game playing, but you will now have to set that up by yourself. Still, you can play with up to 60 FPS from any device, play together with friends, use your choice controller, and connect with other players through the Parsec arcade.
The Parsec app is free for personal use, but if you need visual enhancements, management, and other advanced features, then premium plans include the Individuals for $8.33 per month, the Teams for $30 per month, and the Enterprise.
5. Xbox Cloud
Highlights: 386+ games, 28+ countries
Pricing: $15 per month
Xbox Cloud is currently an exclusive offer to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. It is a subscription that includes all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold, plus access to 100+ console and PC games for $15 per month.
Xbox Cloud is available in 28+ countries and requires a minimum of 4.75 Mbit/s bandwidth or 9 Mbit/s for optimal performance. Its library currently includes 386+ cloud-enabled games and it supports many controllers, including Razer Kishi, Sony DualShock, SteelSeries Nimbus/Stratus, Android, iOS, and of course, Xbox consoles.
6. PlayStation Plus
Highlights: PlayStation games, multi-player, online storage, share play
Pricing: From $9.99 per month
Originally called PlayStation NOW and then merged into the PlayStation Plus premium subscription plan, Sony’s cloud gaming service offers monthly games, cloud storage, multi-player, exclusive discounts, share play, and a game catalog with free shipping.
PlayStation Plus is available in 3 tiers; the Essential, Extra, and Premium plans. Only the Premium plan offers cloud streaming for PCs, while the others require you to have a physical PlayStation console to play.
The PlayStation plans start from $9.99 per month for the Essential, $14.99 for Extra, and $17.99 for the Premium plan with all access and no limits.
Highlights: Simple offer, parental controls, 500+ games
Pricing: $15.99 per month
The Blacknut cloud gaming service is simple–you pay $15.99 per month for unlimited games with up to 5 separate accounts for the entire family. This allows you to create one or more accounts with parental controls, where necessary.
Blacknut offers 500+ games with no purchase or installation necessary. There are also no annoying ads or in-game purchases. You can save your settings and plays online. Plus, you can play from a PC, a smartphone, and even smart TVs.
Highlights: Time-based play, free & paid games, powerful machines
Pricing: $1 per hour
PlayKey offers an interesting service that sets it apart from the rest of the cloud gaming service crowd–you can purchase credits by the hour to play on their powerful gaming machines.
You can run games on PlayKey that are either free or that you purchased from online stores, such as Steam, Uplay, Rockstar, and Battle.net. An hour costs $2 if you’re buying just one, while 3 hours cost $4.50, 8 hours cost $9, and buying 20 hours or more at a go gets you the $1 per hour pricing.
PlayKey’s machines feature the best specs, including GeForce 1080, i7 CPUs at 3.5 GHz, and 20 GB RAM. Plus they can stream your game videos at up to 120 FPS.
Highlights: Browser, desktop, Android apps, In Beta
Pricing: €7.49 per month
Boosteroid can play in your browser without requiring downloads. Still in Beta, this platform costs €7.49 per month for unlimited gaming, with no session limits and no restrictions.
Keep in mind, however, that you can only play games that you already own on Boosteroid. They support Epic games, Ubisoft, and more.
Boosteroid allows you to stream your games to YouTube. You can also switch devices, by starting a game on one and switching to another device. It is available for Windows and macOS desktops and as an Android app.
Highlights: Android-based, no downloads
Pricing: $4.90 per month
If you just want to play PC games on an Android device, then Netboom might be worth a try. It offers an Android app that allows you to play many games with ease and without downloads.
Netboom is also affordable at just $4.90 per month. This subscription allows you to play all the games you own, and Netboom additionally offers an account-sharing feature that lets you borrow an account with your desired game and play for free.
Netboom supports Steam and offline gaming. But if you play offline, then you will be unable to save your games.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some frequently asked questions about cloud gaming and the various service providers.
Cloud gaming gives you the ability to play high-end games with high-end hardware requirements on any device with a display and an internet connection. You also do not need to download or install any games, plus you can play anywhere.
Cloud gaming is simply when a service provider runs a game on their hardware, collects input from you, and streams the output as video back to you.
You need a device with a display, an input system such as buttons or a gamepad, and an Internet connection. The Internet connection is very important and has to be fast and stable.
Cloud computing is playing an integral role in all internet and technological developments. So, while nobody can predict the future with certainty, cloud gaming or something similar could very well be the future.
Yes. Some service providers like GeForce Now offers a free plan with 1-hour limited sessions.
No. Game servers are for managing the inputs of multiple players in a multiplayer game. Cloud gaming, on the other hand, lets you stream a game rendered on top-grade hardware.
We have reached the end of our 10 best cloud gaming service providers list and you can see that there’s quite some action out there. From all-in-one packages to more advanced and configurable systems, there’s something for everyone.
Cloud gaming can provide an amazing experience, especially when you are mobile or using low-spec gear. However, if you are still undecided at this point, then how about you check out Nvidia’s free GeForce NOW offer?