Games Streaming: Time to Replace Your Dedicated Hardware?

Game streaming services haven’t been without their problems. Poor image quality, lag, and dropped connections, even with stable and fast internet, have led to many gamers dismissing the idea that dropping their dedicated console hardware is a good idea.

While a poor experience hasn’t been the case for everyone, the perception of game streaming isn’t great and there is a long road ahead if companies want to convince gamers to try it out.

If you are looking to try it for yourself, you have a few options. None of them are perfect, but they are getting there. Give one of these services a try and see how it treats you! 

Best Streaming Services in 2021

Nvidia GeForce Now

Nvidia Geforce Now works mostly well, thanks to the relationships that Nvidia has built with publishers. As a graphics card designer and manufacturer, Nvidia also understands the complexities of delivering game content to users.

With Geforce Now, you have two options: Stream games from your PC to another device, such as a TV; or stream games from the Geforce Now servers. 

It is important to note that you will need to pay a $5 monthly subscription fee when streaming games from the Geforce Now service. This fee also includes a little under a hundred free to play games. You will need to buy other games that are compatible with the service.

The good news is that you can link your account with your Steam, Epic Game Store, and UPlay libraries, so you don’t have to buy select titles again. However, if a publisher decides to pull a game you linked from the service, there is nothing you can do, which has happened and can diminish the experience.

Playstation Now

Playstation NOW is a game streaming service operated by Sony and available on your PC, PS4, or PS5. The model for Playstation Now is a little different than what some other services offer.

Firstly, you can’t buy games. Instead, Sony provides more than 600 titles for free from the PS2, PS3, and PS4 generation. Some are permanent to the service. Others rotate monthly. So if you are playing a game and nearing the end, and the game falls out of the rotation, you can’t finish it. Likewise, since you can’t buy games, you are likewise at the mercy of what Sony decides to do.

The service isn’t perfect, though. The overall perception of the service is that it is often spotty, with poor visual performance and frequent crashes. With Microsoft investing so heavily into their streaming platform, the question remains if Sony will make a major change to compete better, or if they are happy to stick with the console model that has served them so well.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is Microsoft’s strategy is merge all of their available online services into a single price tier. This includes access to a rotation of more than 100 games each month available both on Xbox and PC (availability may differ), discounts on game purchases, access to a library of games available for streaming on Project xCloud, and the ability to play multiplayer games.

While xCloud is also in its infancy, all it requires is a compatible device, including your cellphone (no controller needed,) or a compatible controller. Install the app and sign up, and you should be good to go.

Like the other streaming services, your internet connection and the Xbox Network will dictate your experience. Some users have reported that the service works perfectly, while others find that it doesn’t work very well, even with a stable and fast internet connection.

Should You Stream Your Games?

That depends on your situation. If you are often on the go, riding public transportation, or traveling for work or school, then it may be your only option to game while away from home. Likewise, for people with tight monthly budgets, the low entry price for these services can make gaming more accessible.

However, if you are a fan of the traditional console model with dedicated hardware connected right to your TV, then the good news is that you aren’t missing out by skipping games streaming.

In another decade, as demand for broader internet coverage expands and speeds increase, we may reach a point where you won’t want a dedicated console. But for now, it is a neat experiment, and it is worth trying and showing off to your friends and family.