While it may hurt many who call themselves true "real players", i cloud video games are here to stay. Although the new generation of consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X) will continue to bet on conventional video games, some platforms are already trying to adapt to what will undoubtedly be the future, streaming.
Xbox with its Game Pass in the Ultimate version already offers the possibility to play in the cloud via an Android phone, but Google with Stadia and NVIDIA with GeForce Now were the pioneers, although Amazon will soon be joining us with Luna, who could be quite the bomb if they get it right.
Ma what are the differences between Google Stadia, GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming? What is the best service for my needs? We will try to shed some light on cloud gaming because obviously the three services are quite different.
Google Stadia still has a lot of room for improvement
Google Stadia arrived in our markets in November 2019 with the intent to revolutionize the video game market. Google's streaming platform wanted the user to forget the hardware (console) and that only with a Chromecast and a controller could they play their favorite games, as long as they were connected to the internet. Of course it was also compatible with Google Chrome and Pixel smartphones, although today it can be used on any Android smartphone.
The truth is that we were able to test it in the most recent version and although Google Stadia performed quite well, with no slowdowns or lag, the service was very green. Now, almost a year later, the truth is that Google's platform has grown in the catalog, yet its news is insufficient. Some of the best titles of the generation are missing, the prices are not exactly competitive, and there is a noticeable lack of communication between Google and the user community..
Despite this, Stadia works luxuriously and it seems incredible that we are playing in the cloud, although of course the quality will depend on our internet connection. Unfortunately Google is quite slow when it comes to updates and adding new features, so many users have decided to ditch Stadia until the platform is fully mature. The truth is that Google Stadia hit the market too soon and now, almost a year later, he still has a lot of room for maneuver.
NVIDA GeForce Now
NVidia GeForce NOW per Android.
NVIDIA GeForce Now is another video game service in the cloud, although this one has a rather notable peculiarity. Unlike Stadia, we don't buy games from NVIDIA, but rather we rent their servers to enjoy our previously purchased titles from mainstream stores like Steam or Epic. Let's take an example.
We have The Witcher III on Steam, that is, it's for us and we can install it on any computer we want. But imagine you have a very old computer whose specs can't with the title of Geralt de Rivia. Well, we installed GeForce Now, started our Steam session and played The Witcher thanks to the NVIDIA servers. The specifications of our computer do not matter because the games are not run locally, that is, we can play new generation titles on potato computers. The same if we want to play it on our Android mobile.
Xbox Cloud Gaming
Microsoft's game streaming service is now available.
Cloud games with Xbox, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Xbox Game Pass, Project xCloud… there are not a few names that this service has received from Microsoft. What's it about? First of all we must explain that Microsoft has to its credit a service called Game Pass, which is basically a service that paying a certain amount of money, we can install and play a multitude of video games without limits.
Game Pass has different payment plans but the so-called Ultimate allows not only to play on our Xbox, but also on our PC and what really interests us, on our Android phone or tablet thanks to the cloud. The service is currently in beta, there is only a small but high quality cloud compatible games and a good internet connection is required, but enjoying AAA titles on our android phone is one of the best experiences we have. we video game lovers can live.
Main differences between services
Although the three platforms allow you to play video games through the cloud, there are substantial differences between them both in the price, in the compatible devices and in the quality of the streaming.
GeForce Now currently has two subscription plans
The main difference between the three services is their price. The Google Stadia package costs € 99,99 and includes a Chromecast, a controller and a one-month subscription to the Stadia Pro service. Stadia Pro costs € 9,99 per month and offers discounts on games and two “free” titles per month as long as the subscription remains active. The rest of the games must be paid for at the price set by the platform (which is not very competitive) and will always be ours, regardless of whether we pay for the Pro version of Stadia or not.
When it comes to GeForce Now we have two plans. One free, with queue files and a session limit of one hour. This means that we can only play our games for one hour, and after that we will have to log in again. We can log in as many times as we want, but always in one hour periods. On the other, there is the Founder plan, which for 5,49 euros a month gives us priority access, sessions without time limits and RTX activated to improve the appearance of our games.
Finally, cloud gaming with Xbox (from now on we will call it Xbox Cloud Gaming) require the Ultimate Game Pass subscription at a price of 12,99 euros per month which offers all of the following:
- Access to over 100 high-quality games for consoles, PCs and Android mobile devices.
- New games added constantly
- Xbox Game Studios titles on the day of their release
- Discounts and offers
To play xCloud, you need a compatible controller.
Google Stadia can be used on Android devices, web browsers (PCs, Macs and Chromebooks) and TVs with Chromecast Ultra. It is compatible with your controller and with others like Sony Dual Shock or Xbox controller.
NVIDIA GeForce Now is available on devices Android, PC and computer Mac by installing an application. It is also compatible with Nvidia Shield.
Finally, Xbox Cloud Gaming is only available on Android smartphones and tablets. Requires a controller to play.
None of the three services are compatible with iPhone smartphones or iPad tablets a because of Apple's controversial policies.
Streaming quality is also different between the three services
Google Stadia promises 4K resolution, HDR and 60 frames per second. However, none of the games in their catalog reach 4K quality.
On the other hand, GeForce Now allows us to enjoy our favorite titles in 1080p resolution, at 60 fps and with RTX a agreement to pay for the Founder plan. All this regardless of the hardware of our computer.
Finally, Xbox Cloud Gaming is still in beta, then the resolution dropped to 720p. However, Microsoft has already announced that 1080 will come sooner or later to take advantage of the quality of the most current mobile screens.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a major Google Stadia statement
The Google Stadia catalog does not reach the hundred games and many of these they are of dubious quality. However, we can find quite interesting titles like Final Fantasy XV, Assassin's Creed Odyssey or Red Dead Redemption 2.
On the contrary, the catalog compatible with GeForce Now is much wider and we find some of the best games of the generation, as it is powered directly from Steam or the Epic store.
Xbox Cloud Gaming offers a large catalog and quality of both indie and AAA games to play directly on our smartphone, but as we said before, the service is in Beta phase so Microsoft will add more compatible titles over time. Of note, A Plague Tale: Innocence or the Yakuza saga.
Insomma, Google Stadia, GeForce Now e Xbox Cloud Gaming they are three platforms similar to each other but aimed at different audiences. Google Stadia is more geared towards casual gamers who don't want to depend on consoles. Another of its advantages is that everything works in the Google cloud, so we never have to update games. Unfortunately, the catalog of titles is somewhat limited and the price of these is not very competitive.
GeForce Now allows us to play our previously purchased games on any computer (regardless of hardware) or Android smartphone. On the contrary, for an optimal user experience you have to pay monthly, so if we don't use it for a month, we will have wasted it.
Finally, the positive point of the Xbox Cloud is its quality catalog and the fact that for less than 13 euros we can enjoy incredible titles on our Xbox, PC and mobile consoles. Unfortunately, if we only want to play on our smartphone and we don't have a console or a computer, this service may be the least inexpensive.