The best game streaming services in 2023on January 9, 2023 at 10:57 Tech Advisor

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Depending on who you ask, game streaming may be the future of videogames. Streaming services like Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming let gamers play games from wherever they are, on any device, without having to worry about a bulky console or expensive gaming PC.

The challenge is that current gaming services vary in style a lot. Some let you play games you already own, some require you to buy them again. Some will work on any device, some have more restricted access. And of course, some will simply have better performance and speeds than others. Here’s how to pick which is right for you.

With the release of Nvidia’s upgraded RTX 4080-equipped Ultimate tier of its GeForce Now streaming service rolling out in the next month or so, it’s pretty clear that game streaming is only going to keep growing.

Best game streaming services in 2023

1. Nvidia GeForce Now: Best for PC gamers

Pros

Available on PC, Mac, Android & iOS

RTX 3080 performance (soon to be 4080)

Can play games you own

Cons

Not all games are available

RRP:



From £8.99/month (Priority Membership)

Best Prices Today:



£8.99 at Nvidia

Nvidia’s GeForce Now is, in our opinion, one of the best game streaming services if you already game on a PC. 

Unlike PlayStation Now, which offers a library of curated games to play, Nvidia’s game streaming service lets you stream games that you already own across the likes of Steam, Epic Games, Uplay, and other PC-based stores.

A library of games come pre-installed on Nvidia’s servers and are available for instant streaming, not only on PC but Mac, mobile, Chromebook, and
Nvidia’s own Shield TV alongside iOS and Android devices. The games are rendered remotely using Nvidia’s own GeForce GPUs and for those with a fast-enough internet connection, and it’ll deliver up to 1080p@60fps on demand.

Those that want a little more bang for their buck can upgrade to the RTX 3080 tier; as the name suggests, the top-end subscription offers performance akin to Nvidia’s RTX 3080 with upgraded 1440p@120fps available on PC and Mac, and an impressive 4K@60fps (with HDR) if you stream via the Nvidia Shield TV. With no noticeable latency issues, the RTX 3080 tier (at its best) provides an experience indistinguishable from next-gen consoles like the PS5. 

That’s set to be improved with the Ultimate tier in the coming months, boasting RTX 4080-level performance and a new 240fps streaming mode for competitive shooters.

The one shift undermining GeForce Now as the game streaming platform of choice is that since the service moved out of beta, publishers like Activision-Blizzard and Bethesda have removed most of their games from the service, meaning support has been lost for some of the biggest titles currently out there.

So long as you’re a fan of the supported titles that remain though, this might still be the best choice.

The priority tier is affordable at £8.99/$9.99 a month, and there is a free tier if you don’t mind being limited to one-hour sessions. The top-end RTX 3080 tier is only available in six-month blocks, and it’s a more considerable £89.99/$99.99. All RTX 3080 tier subscribers will automatically get the upgrade to the 4080-equipped Ultimate tier once it’s available.

Read our full
Review Nvidia GeForce Now

2. Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass: Best for multi-platform gamers

Pros

Huge library of on-demand games

PC and Xbox games included

Great 1080p performance

Cons

Can’t stream games to Xbox consoles

RRP:



£10.99/month

OK, so it’s not the catchiest name ever, but
Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s take on playing from the cloud.

Tested under the name Project xCloud, the service is part of the
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which costs £10.99/$14.99 per month. That means you can’t pay for the cloud gaming part on its own, but the other Game Pass perks are worth it, including a huge game library to play on Xbox and PC, special deals and discounts, and extra subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold and
EA Play included.

As for the cloud gaming itself, it’s available on Windows and Android via dedicated apps, and it’s also available to stream via web app on iOS devices.

There are over 100 games available from Microsoft and beyond, and you can play some games with touchscreen controls or use just about any Bluetooth controller that will connect to your phone/tablet – even a DualShock 4.

This is especially great for anyone already gaming on an Xbox or PC, as you can pick up from the same save file or play online with the same friends across a variety of platforms.

3. PlayStation Plus Premium: Best for PlayStation gamers

Pros

Can stream games to the PS4/PS5

Huge library of PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4 & PS5 titles

Up to 4K streaming

Cons

Not all games can be streamed

RRP:



£13.49 per month

Best Prices Today:



£13.49 at Sony

While many game streaming services are relatively new, Sony’s game streaming service launched way back in 2014, although it was rebranded and merged with PlayStation Plus earlier this year.

If you decide to subscribe to Sony’s top-tier PlayStation Plus subscription, you’ll gain access to a library of over 740 games – and they’re also playable on PC. In fact, it’s the only way to play PlayStation games on a PC. Yes, that’s right, PlayStation Plus Premium is available not only on PS4 and PS5 but PC too, allowing you to stream your favourite PS5, PS4, PS3 and PS2 games on practically any Windows-based PC or laptop.

The library consists of over 400 PS4 and PS5 titles, along with 340 classic PlayStation, PS2, PS3 and PSP titles. While streaming is primarily how the service works, you can also download games onto your console to play offline, access higher resolutions and experience 5.1 surround sound.

Is PlayStation Plus Premium worth it? We think so.

4. Hatch: Best for mobile gamers

Pros

Works perfectly on Android

Premium mobile games available for free

Works over cellular

Cons

No iOS support

RRP:



Free (with optional premium subscription)

Best Prices Today:



£0 at Hatch

While most other entrants in our chart are PC or console-based game streaming services, Hatch aims to look after the mobile gamers. The game streaming service offers a range of 100+ highly-rated mobile games, including Leo’s Fortune, Monument Valley, Crashlands and Hitman GO, available to stream instantly.

As well as playing games whenever you fancy, you can also join casual eSports tournaments and go up against friends and other mobile gamers around the world to compete for real prizes.

The streaming service works surprisingly well too, with little-to-no difference in terms of graphics or gameplay, and brings the high-end mobile gaming experience to those without a high-end smartphone. 

The only limitation right now is that the game streaming service has been built with 5G in mind, so you’ll need a decent internet connection to stream the library of games on offer.

We’ve tried it on 4G with middling results, so unless you’re an early adopter of 5G, chances are you’ll only be using it when connected to Wi-Fi – until 5G is more readily available, anyway. 

Interested? Take a look at it on
Google Play right now. 

Game Streaming Service FAQ

1.

What are the different types of game streaming service?

As it stands, there are two types of streaming service available right now: one type provides a range of games for you to stream from a dedicated library, like PlayStation Plus Premium or Xbox Cloud Gaming; the other provides the tech to stream games that you already own, like GeForce Now.

You need to consider what you want out of your streaming service. If you’ve already got a large collection of PC games, but your computer just isn’t up to scratch anymore, a service that provides a way to play existing games like GeForce Now would be ideal.

But if you’re new to the world of gaming, a service that provides a large library of on-demand games (like PS Now or Xbox Cloud Gaming) would likely be better.

2.

How fast does my internet need to be for cloud gaming?

With any kind of streaming service, internet connectivity is key, but it’s more crucial than ever where game streaming is concerned. This is due to how game streaming works; the games are rendered remotely at data centres and streamed to your PC (or another device of choice), with your inputs then sent back to the same data centres in real time.

If you’ve got a sub-par internet connection, chances are you’ll experience severe input lag that makes gaming virtually impossible. The minimum requirements vary by streaming services, so do your research and run a speed test on your home network to see which is best for your needs. 

For those with slow internet speeds, why not consider a game subscription service instead? It may take longer to access the games initially, but it’s certainly better than dealing with streaming issues.

3.

Which devices support cloud gaming?

While this may seem fairly obvious, it’s always worth mentioning: make sure your device is supported by the streaming service you subscribe to. Most offer PC support as standard, but depending on the service, you might also be able to stream your favourite games on Macs, tablets, smartphones, Chromebooks, and even TVs.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re a PS4 or PS5 player, you’re limited to PlayStation Now, the only game streaming service available on Sony’s console. If you’re looking for an Xbox-compatible streaming service, you’re out of luck: Microsoft’s Xbox equivalent will let you play your Xbox games on your phone and PC, but won’t let you actually stream games to the console itself.

4.

What happened to Google Stadia?

In a rather surprising announcement, Google confirmed in late September 2022 that it plans to shut down the Stadia cloud gaming service and refund players for digital purchases, subscriptions and even hardware purchases for those that bought the Stadia controller.

Explaining the decision in a post on the Google website, VP of Stadia, Phil Harrison, claims that the shutdown is due to a lack of “traction” among gamers.

You’ll be able to access your games until 18 January 2023, at which point the service will be shut down. Google predicts that refunds will take place by mid-January at the latest, and most refunds should be automatic.

Gaming

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