We explore this exciting new technology
In recent years, new technology has sprung onto the scene that allows you to play any game you want, no matter the specs of your PC or other devices. Sounds too good to be true? It’s actually an extremely simple concept, but the technology required wasn’t able to catch up until recently.
Cloud gaming is a relatively new service that fixes an issue that anyone into gaming has come across: there’s some games you really want to play, yet the cost of a high-end PC and the needed components keeps them out of your reach. In contrast, the only requirement of cloud gaming is the ability to stream video.
Whether it’s actually an efficient way to play games is a divisive topic in the gaming community, due to the issues with lag many have run into with most of the cloud gaming services already available. The Shadow cloud gaming service, however, has been reported to cut down on these latency issues and offers a powerful game streaming service.
What Is Cloud Gaming?
Unfortunately, the cost of building a high-end PC needed to play some games can run incredibly high. This is the issue that cloud gaming fixes. Instead of owning a high-power machine yourself, cloud gaming companies offer a remote one, accessible through servers in the cloud.
You pay a monthly fee for this service, and with most companies there is either a library of games included or you buy the games yourself. The way games are played is more akin to a streaming service than anything else. You choose the game you want to play, and it is then run through this machine. At home, you can use any device to play the game, including laptops, TVs, and smartphones.
When you input controls for the game into your device, these inputs are sent to the server, which then tells the PC located there what was pressed and copies it. The game is streamed through video, so you can watch what’s happening.
Some have argued that this method leads to slow response times and lag in the game, because the inputs are being sent over such a vast distance. Others commend cloud gaming for its ability to provide a solid gaming experience to those who may not have other options to play games.
What Shadow Cloud Gaming Offers
There are a good handful of cloud gaming services out there, but what makes Shadow cloud gaming stand out? Mainly it’s the fact that it’s not just for game streaming.
Shadow is actually a fully-functional Windows 10 computer, but optimized for gaming. Because of this, you’re able to do anything you’d normally be able to do on a computer. This makes Shadow not only a cloud gaming service, but more so a cloud computing service.
You can use it on most any device, including computers and laptops, smartphones using Android or iOS, and on your TV with Android TV or Apple TV. There is also an option to buy what is called the Shadow Ghost, a small device which allows you to connect to Shadow from any screen you’d rather use. It runs Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, using only what is required to log in and stream from your Shadow machine.
Shadow is more expensive than its competitors, its base package running at 14.99$/mo. You also need to individually buy the games you want to play. So is it worth it? With its fully-fledged capabilities not only for gaming but also computing, Shadow is definitely set apart and has much more to offer than just game streaming.
The Shadow machine boasts specs and hardware that are always up-to-date, and if something seems to be awry and performance is decreasing, they will automatically replace components. You also have 256 GB of storage in the base package which can be upgraded in increments of the same amount, and you can have up to 2 TB of storage.
This is definitely needed, as the library of games Shadow allows you to play is virtually unlimited, barring only console exclusive games. Besides gameplay, it also lets you run any program a normal Windows 10 PC could. Hypothetically, it could even be used for photo or video editing.
How To Use Shadow Cloud Gaming
Because Shadow spreads its data centers across the U.S. and UK according to the concentration of its user base, there are two possibilities for how Shadow may be available in your area (Shadow is currently not supported outside these two countries).
There is “Live” mode, which offers the best experience, and “Exploration” mode, which means Shadow may not be as efficient in your area. The more users that sign up for Shadow in your state, however, the more likely it is that a data center will be set up there in the future.
Once you determine whether your state is fully supported, there are three tiers to choose from for your Shadow membership. The only one available for use right now is the Boost tier, and once signing up you will have to wait a short amount of time for your Shadow cloud gaming machine to be activated.
The other two tiers, Ultra and Infinite, provide better computer specs and more storage from the get-go. However, these tiers will not be available until 2021 as they are still being configured across the country. You can still sign up for the waiting list, though, to gain access to these tiers as soon as they go live.
After you sign up for Shadow, they will send you an email once your machine has been activated. From here you can launch it using whatever device you own that is supported.