Do we want to play the latest titles without having a console or a PC? Let’s see how to use Cloud Gaming to play streaming.
Until recently, in order to play your favorite videogame titles, it was necessary to buy a game console or set up an expensive gaming PC. To keep up with new games we had to upgrade the computer constantly or buy a new console every 4 years or so. But with ever faster internet connections, a new way to play video games has started to take hold: cloud gaming.
The concept of cloud gaming is very simple to explain: with this name we identify the services that allow you to play the most recent video games without having to have the necessary hardware power to run them, given that a very powerful game server will take care of it. All we will see is a live stream of the game (run on the server), which will receive commands from our controller via the Internet. The real challenge of these services is to keep the latency low, i.e. the time required for the game command to pass from the controller to the server: on some games this latency must be very low, otherwise the game risks being unplayable.
In this guide we will show you the best cloud gaming services that you can take advantage of in Italy even with not particularly performing Internet connections. To receive the best performance, however, we will have to connect to the game servers via FTTC or FTTH connection, thus avoiding the use of ADSL (now too obsolete for this type of service).
System requirements and Internet connection
For cloud gaming we need a fixed Internet line with a flat subscription (therefore no subscriptions to consumption or wireless connections) capable of meeting the following requirements:
- Download speed: at least 20 Megabits per second (20 Mbps)
- Upload speed: at least 5 Megabits per second (5 Mbps)
- Ping: less than 100ms
In order to obtain the best results, avoid using the Wi-Fi connection between the PC and the modem and prefer the connection via Ethernet cable: if the modem is too far from the PC we want to play on, we can focus on Powerline connections or on Mesh Wi-Fi to improve connection speed and stability.
To understand if the Internet connection in our possession is suitable for cloud gaming, we advise you to immediately run the Internet connection speed test, available directly on the Navigaweb.net page.
The first service we recommend you try is Google Stadia, which works with the Google Chrome browser (to be installed on our computer) or via the App on Android TV and smartphones.
With this service, all you need is a Google account and a $9.99 monthly subscription to immediately play many games, even very recent ones, with very high streaming quality and command response at the highest levels (thanks to dedicated Google servers).
To play Google Stadia we can consider buying the Stadia Premiere Edition bundle, which offers a wireless Stadia controller and a Chromecast Ultra for cloud gaming on any TV.
If we want to try Stadia for free and check that your internet connection is fast enough to stream video games, you can do it without having to provide a credit card. You just need to register an account and try one of the free games made available by Stadia on your PC.
Nvidia GeForce NOW
Another service that we can use for cloud gaming is NVIDIA GeForce NOW, managed by the famous NVIDIA video card manufacturer and accessible from the official website.
By subscribing to the service and downloading the specific app onto our device (it works on Android smartphones and TVs) we’ll be able to play for free without limits for one hour a day, but with staggered access (we’ll have to find a free spot on the servers). If this solution seems too limited to you, we can play all the games without limits by subscribing for $49.99, to be paid every 6 months.
In order to play, minimum requirements are also required for the PC in use, given that the app uses a minimal part of the system’s resources: to play well, all you need is a PC with 4GB of RAM and a video card that supports DirectX 11 , as seen on the official requirements page.
The best device on which we can play the GeForce Now cloud, in addition to Android TV, is the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro console, available on Amazon for $219.
By connecting this console to the TV via HDMI and to the home modem, we will be able to access the NVIDIA GeForce NOW service at any time and at the maximum possible speed, without necessarily having to connect a computer to the TV. In addition to being a cloud gaming console, we can use the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro as a multimedia player and as a device for the most famous streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
Another valid service that we can try for cloud gaming is PlayStation Now, provided by Sony and accessible from the PS4 and PS5 consoles, as well as from the official website.
With this service we will be able to play the titles available on PS4 and PS5 also from PC, all we have to do is download the specific app for Windows PC, log in with a Sony account and pay the monthly subscription ($9.99 per month).
If we want to play in the cloud in the living room in front of the TV, we can very well take advantage of PS Now on PS4 Pro or PS5, so as to avoid buying games and play online at the highest quality.
Xbox Cloud Gaming (or xCloud)
Microsoft has also decided to focus strongly on cloud gaming by launching the Xbox Cloud Gaming service (also called xCloud), which can be activated from the official website.
With this service we can access a catalog of Xbox games on any PC and any mobile device, including Android phones and iPhones. This service is designed to play immediately on your Xbox console without having to wait for new games to download: you turn on the console and start, without waiting times.
In order to play the titles included in the cloud gaming it is necessary to subscribe to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the most expensive and complete Xbox subscription available at 12.99/month (with the first month for only one dollar). After subscribing, make sure you’re using a compatible device and a certified controller, then connect your chosen device to the fastest Wi-Fi network or cable modem directly to start playing in the cloud.
By choosing one of the cloud gaming services shown above, we will be able to play online without a console and without having to set up a gaming PC. Some services also offer free trial versions, but they have time and bandwidth limitations so it is not always possible to play as seen with paid services.
If our Internet connection permits, let’s give cloud gaming a chance, since now the servers used and the connections are ripe to be able to move the whole gaming experience online, avoiding all the problems related to old components (video card that doesn’t work or underperforming PC).
We are also waiting for the Amazon Luna subscription to come out, Amazon’s cloud gaming service that promises really well but is, at the moment, only available in the USA.