12 votes

Do you use game streaming services? Which ones and why or why not?

I wanted to get a general discussion going on the opinions of game streaming services. This is a potentially huge market and the big companies out there are really trying to break into this market. I personally use google stadia and love it, there is a slight amount of latency in movements but it feels no different than a larger dead zone to me.

I love the idea of game streaming as it brings more games to more platforms like Linux, macOS and mobile devices. I know the big argument against them is that you don’t own the games, but from my perspective, you don’t own the games on steam either, you own the right to play someone else’s game just like with Google stadia or Luna or xcloud. If you want to own an actual copy then you have to buy the game from a vendor like gog or itch.io.

So let me know your opinions on this market, do you think it’s good, bad, or somewhere in between and why? If you play on any of these services what are your thoughts and experiences? Has it worked well for you and do you see yourself using services like this in the future? I genuinely am curious as it’s a completely different mindset than what we’re used too and it can really disrupt a market that hasn’t seen proper innovation in years.

14 comments

  1. [2]
    stu2b50
    Link
    It's actually not universally true, either. Nvidia's streaming service actually uses your own licenses of the game (i.e you buy a game on steam, and that allows you to play it on GeForce Now)....

    I know the big argument against them is that you don’t own the games

    It's actually not universally true, either. Nvidia's streaming service actually uses your own licenses of the game (i.e you buy a game on steam, and that allows you to play it on GeForce Now). It's really more modeled as renting a computer.

    I've tried GeForce Now, and it was pretty good actually. The major issue with it is the lack of games - despite hypothetically being able to play any and all PC games, many developers have asked Nvidia to explicitly disable their game from running on the service - in some cases, because they have exclusivity with another streaming platform, in some cases.. who knows? They just don't like it I guess?

    I'm already kinda invested into having hardware, but if I weren't, honestly it's a pretty solid way to play AAA games if you have good internet connection. For $10/month, not a bad deal.

    10 votes
    1. Octofox
      Link Parent
      It's an unreal deal. If we just think about a GPU and we assume it costs $500. For $500 you can use GeForce Now for a little over 4 years. After 4 years your GPU is on the old end and almost ready...

      For $10/month, not a bad deal.

      It's an unreal deal. If we just think about a GPU and we assume it costs $500. For $500 you can use GeForce Now for a little over 4 years. After 4 years your GPU is on the old end and almost ready to retire if you are keeping up with the latest.

      So the streaming service comes out simply cheaper. Who knows if this is just introductory pricing to lure in customers or if it's just that the fact that the same GPU serves multiple customers makes things cheaper. If you think about it, your GPU sits at home doing nothing for almost all of the time but in a datacenter it could be running for most of the time, sure you do have peak usage times but in non peak times you could even use the GPUs for something else like a render farm.

      6 votes
  2. [2]
    Protected
    Link
    I got a heaping dose of stadia pro for my birthday last year. I played one of their exclusives in full and checked out a couple more but when the time arrived to play again the subscription had...

    I got a heaping dose of stadia pro for my birthday last year. I played one of their exclusives in full and checked out a couple more but when the time arrived to play again the subscription had expired.

    Submerged: Hidden Depths was fairly enjoyable but it felt like development had fallen a bit short, with the beautiful world feeling empty and devoid of much in the way of side content or all the little things that make games a more enjoyable experience. I wasn't sure if this was due to Stadia budget constraints. It felt like a game released 90% complete.

    Some streamers I watch took my recommendation to play Gylt. It was a pretty interesting, charming game with a horror theme. They commented on how it must suck for the developers to make cool games like this only to have them go completely unnoticed because they're on Stadia.

    In general, it annoys me to either have time constraints or have to pay twice to reach a game, and I distrust that the service will continue to exist forever. Several Google services I used to use have been discontinued. I also had games on services like Desura/Indie Royale which ceased to exist and can no longer be downloaded, which validated my habit of downloading installer backups of every DRM free game I purchase and dumping them on a hard drive for safekeeping. I like to control my game collection and play whenever I feel like, and to be able to replay a game I enjoyed.

    I found the library of games available at the time on the service to be insufficient. You need a lot of games in order to cater to people of all tastes, and google just didn't go all in; most of the games they had were games I had no interest in. The fact that nobody knew about their exclusives also tells me there was a major marketing failure from their part.

    The technology worked very well, including on the phone. For the types of games I tried it with the lag was basically unnoticeable.

    There are plenty of games on Steam that do not strictly speaking require Steam at all and can be backed up, but it's easier to play DRM free games bought on GOG, and that's my storefront of choice these days (whenever possible). Much like Steam, they're also terrible at improving their client in a timely fashion, keeping it usable or providing customer support. One feels right at home.

    8 votes
    1. Protected
      Link Parent
      After reading the other responses I feel like it's super relevant to mention that I'm in Europe and have gigabit fiber.

      After reading the other responses I feel like it's super relevant to mention that I'm in Europe and have gigabit fiber.

      6 votes
  3. [2]
    Bullmaestro
    Link
    I have experience with four. Out of these xCloud has been the best and even that isn't perfect. GeForce Now had good bitrate quality but bad input lag. I didn't subscribe to it because the games...

    I have experience with four. Out of these xCloud has been the best and even that isn't perfect.

    GeForce Now had good bitrate quality but bad input lag. I didn't subscribe to it because the games list was limited and and this was before major publishers like Bethesda and Activision Blizzard pulled out.

    Stadia lowered input latency quite significantly, but the quality of the stream was awful. It was like watching a YouTube video in 180p quality. Truly bad.

    PSNow is awful. Low bitrate, awful input lag. Even their selection of games cannot be offset by how bad it is.

    xCloud seems to have hit a good balance of bitrate and input lag. I've seen very little artifacting and lag when playing on their platform, even on the day that it launched to the general public. Input latency is still an issue.

    6 votes
    1. Apos
      Link Parent
      Does this mean that playing a game on those platforms is not much better than watching a YouTube playthrough in terms of video quality? (I notice with a lot of games that I play, they don't look...

      Does this mean that playing a game on those platforms is not much better than watching a YouTube playthrough in terms of video quality?

      (I notice with a lot of games that I play, they don't look nearly as good when watched on YouTube.)

      2 votes
  4. Akir
    Link
    Nope. US internet is simply not good enough, and I can’t stand the latency. Most streaming services seem to be an excuse to further divorce people from the concept of owning their games, and the...

    Nope. US internet is simply not good enough, and I can’t stand the latency. Most streaming services seem to be an excuse to further divorce people from the concept of owning their games, and the local experience is far better than what they can offer in literally every way imaginable.

    Beyond all of this, if I wanted to stream my games, I already have the ability to do so without paying anyone else.

    6 votes
  5. emnii
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    I've toyed with xCloud because I have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. I have no particular need for cloud gaming; my PC is plenty to run new games and I own all of the current generation consoles. I have...

    I've toyed with xCloud because I have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. I have no particular need for cloud gaming; my PC is plenty to run new games and I own all of the current generation consoles.

    I have been quite impressed by xCloud though. I've tried it out on an old Android phone with a paired Xbox controller. I played a lot of Forza Horizon 4 on it, and only experienced some graphical glitching. It was perfectly playable as far as input lag went, even in fast, precise races.

    I got to participate in the closed beta for PC/web browser streaming and found it did almost as well. On a 27" 4K monitor, the artifacting in streaming video is a lot more obvious than it is on a 5 inch phone screen. It still played games perfectly well, except for when I got to Fallout 76. In the closed beta days, FO76 had some terrible input lag in the open world. In instanced locations, it was nonexistent but it was damn near unplayable in the shared world. I recently revisited FO76 since web browser streaming opened up to everyone and the input lag is a lot better, but it's still a bit more noticeable than in other games.

    My favorite benefits of cloud gaming are being able to play these console games without needing to install. It's perfect for trying something out before I download it to my console. Also, with cloud saves, my progress isn't lost between platforms. I can jump from console to phone to PC and they're all sharing the same saves. Overall, I think it's pretty cool and find use for it, though this is all happening inside my house, where my internet connection is great.

    5 votes
  6. guts
    Link
    I do use GeForce Now and i have tested Stadia, xCloud and Shadow. GeForce Now runs great with no lag, like 20% of the time sometimes it gets slow and blurry with no way to play. They have few good...

    I do use GeForce Now and i have tested Stadia, xCloud and Shadow.
    GeForce Now runs great with no lag, like 20% of the time sometimes it gets slow and blurry with no way to play. They have few good games and i mostly play Valheim with my GF on an Nvidia Shield and a Macbook Air. I have Founders membership so the price is totally great and the client runs great.

    I used to have Shadow and cancelled when they change the price plans. Shadow for 15 USD was a great deal and the client was updated regularly and supported on Android TV, the price was competitive for a full Windows 10 VM, i even used to play Nintendo Switch emulator and play remotely with other friends with Parsec, Shadow is a great tech with the wrong business model in my opinion.

    I tried Stadia using VPN as it is not available in my country, with VPN Stadia run great 60% of the time and has the best streaming tech out there, no lag and games runs great as Cyberpunk or Red Dead. Great tech but it is Google, i do not have any hopes if it is from Google as i am still salty they rid Google Reader.

    I tried xCloud on Android TV at 720p and 1080p and is the slowest, they are competitive just because Gamepass and i believe later it is going to be the best streaming service because game catalog. In my opinion Xbox ecosystem is one of the best between Sony, Steam and Nintendo and the IP they are adding.

    I will keep paying Geforce Now, no win paying full price game on Stadia and wait for Microsoft up its game on Gamepass and streaming. Most probably later this year graphic cards prices are gong to get a breath after mining on Ethereum is not going to be profitable any more. I would buy a gaming laptop or building a PC and install Parsec for remote gaming.

    3 votes
  7. DrStone
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    Cloud gaming would be perfect for me right now. My graphics card died and I'm trying to wait for prices to return to normal before buying anything new. My internet is great (1Gbps down, 500Mbps...

    Cloud gaming would be perfect for me right now. My graphics card died and I'm trying to wait for prices to return to normal before buying anything new. My internet is great (1Gbps down, 500Mbps up). Unfortunately, I'm currently in southeast Asia. It seems few of the big players offer their service here, and if they do, the host servers are far enough way for unplayable lag.

    2 votes
  8. NaraVara
    Link
    I briefly tried playing For Honor on the free tier of GeForce Now. It's very impressive technologically and I'm really looking forward to it. As a Mac user, I would really like to just not have to...

    I briefly tried playing For Honor on the free tier of GeForce Now. It's very impressive technologically and I'm really looking forward to it. As a Mac user, I would really like to just not have to worry about spending way more for performance machines that aren't even well tailored to the software I need the performance for. Just being able to run off a VM would be way preferable. And the finances make more sense too, it would take me anywhere from 2 to 4 years to hit a break-even point on any gaming rig I would want to build, at which point I'd be eyeing upgrades to my rig anyway.

    That said, there was perceptible control latency when trying to play For Honor. It's very very mild, barely perceptible really. For most single-player games it wouldn't be a big deal. But for anything online and competitive I'm not sure if it would get frustrating. I think playing fighting games would be out. I'm not sure a high-level player would want to play a micro-intensive game like Starcraft 2 either (though I'm not at a level where it would matter).

    GeForce Now wasn't a great deal for me because I generally prefer to play most games on the PlayStation or Switch. I really just use the PC for strategy games, 4x, and RTS. But GeForce (and Stadia and a bunch of other streaming services) seem to be focused on the AAA titles that are already available on everything rather than the specific niche corner of gaming that I actually care about using them for.

    2 votes
  9. Heichou
    Link
    I'm super picky about how the games that I play run, and I don't have good enough internet to stream any games without input delay, quality drops, or fear of disconnection. Call me curmudgeonly...

    I'm super picky about how the games that I play run, and I don't have good enough internet to stream any games without input delay, quality drops, or fear of disconnection. Call me curmudgeonly but I just don't think it's a worthwhile investment unless you get pretty good internet and have the money to pay for said internet. I'm biased, of course, because I already have a good gaming PC and a PS4, so I'm not exactly hurting for ways to play games

    1 vote
  10. moocow1452
    (edited )
    Link
    My brother was part of the Assassin's Creed test for Google, and had no real complaints. I tried Stadia for a bit, and it was okay, but kinda hampered having to buy games again. GeForce Now was...

    My brother was part of the Assassin's Creed test for Google, and had no real complaints. I tried Stadia for a bit, and it was okay, but kinda hampered having to buy games again. GeForce Now was neat when you could get around the Steam Blocks, but I've never really had a reason to use it since I got Gamepass and do most of my videogaming on there. Xcloud is okay, depending on the game, the game that was giving me the most issues as of late was Bug Fables with it's Paper Mario timing system, but that could have been poor signal or Network lag, since there was a wall between me and my router.

    Edit: Scott the Woz put out a video recently on Cloud Gaming, it hits a lot of the points that I feel are important.

    1 vote
  11. mrbig
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    I don't think there are any major game streaming services available in Brazil, so I don't have much of a choice. But Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives so many games to play locally that I probably...

    I don't think there are any major game streaming services available in Brazil, so I don't have much of a choice. But Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives so many games to play locally that I probably wouldn't see the point.

    Maybe I'd use it to test or casually play a bunch of games without committing to a huge download and without filling the limited storage on the Xbox. And also for games in which latency is not an issue.