Best PC Game Streaming Services for Next-Gen
The next generation of video games is almost upon us. Players won’t have to wait much longer to enjoy the benefits of 4K graphics, more than 60 frames per second, ray-tracing on consoles for the first time, better loading times, and so much more, and you’ll be able to experience all of that with some of the best PC game streaming services.
Without a doubt, this next generation might not be the most dramatic change in terms of graphical quality just yet. Still, some impressive benefits will make this generation more convenient than any other before it.
You Don’t Technically Need a Next-Gen Console or PC to Enjoy Next-Gen
One thing that might surprise you is that you won’t need a powerful next-generation console or PC to experience everything that the new gen will have to offer you. We get it. This year has been insanely bad for many people globally. Money can be an even bigger concern for people than in 2019 and before.
This is a problem when Sony, Microsoft, and even the graphics card makers Nvidia and AMD are insistent on starting the next generation of video games, come hell or high waters during this pandemic around the world. This can be discouraging for those who love gaming but don’t have the means to buy new systems right now.
But what if there was a way where you could save some money, not have to buy a new console or PC, and still enjoy the next generation release of Cyberpunk 2077 in November on PC? That is something that you can do.
You don’t have to go out and buy a new console or PC right this minute or even this year. You can certainly make it through the rest of 2020 and even all of 2021 without buying any of those systems. While we recommend it eventually, most likely, when they are much cheaper than $500, there are other options out there.
Best PC Game Streaming Services for Next-Gen Ranked: Criteria
Those options come from the various best PC game streaming services that already exist. These do allow the user to stream the biggest and best games around these days to the system of their choice. There are options for your existing PC (including Mac) and mobile devices as well.
There are even some that work with consoles as well, but those are few and far between. To help you out and possibly save some money in the process, I’ve compiled the list of the seven best PC game streaming services out there that you can enjoy right now.
These aren’t all of the streaming services in the wild today. I might have ignored or missed some, but these are the seven that you need to know about. They each fulfill and accomplish different objectives in the grand scheme of things, so what works for one person may not work for another.
Regardless, some criteria went into figuring out this list of best PC game streaming services. For one, there is the fact that I am limiting this list to only the services that focus on allowing you to play games on a device that usually wouldn’t be able to play them.
That might be because Halo Infinite and other games don’t exist on that platform (mobile), or your PC/Mac wouldn’t be powerful enough to play it otherwise. This means that remote play services that take your existing console and play it on your phone aren’t for this list.
That deserves its own list. It is mainly for those players who want to enjoy the power of next-gen without it burning a huge hole in your pocket. Now, let’s dig into the best PC game streaming services out there for PC, mobile, and even on your TV (some of them).
7. PlayStation Now
The first one on this list is the one that I least recommend. Some of you might think of the PS4 service that lets you play PS3 and PS4 games on your existing console but what you might not know is that it is available on PC.
You don’t have to own a PS4 at all to stream popular games from that system to your PC and enjoy them without buying new hardware. But Sony controls its IPs, so it is no surprise that this is one of the most expensive services on this list.
It is the lowest on the list because of that high price, even with the annual subscription, which makes it not necessarily worth it. More importantly, though, Sony has yet to address how PlayStation Now will work with PS5 games. Will there be or not? This needs to be known, or else this won’t even be a next-gen streaming service.
6. Google Stadia
Next up on this list is the next one is problematic and uncertain: Google Stadia. If you’ve been in the gaming community long enough, you will know that Stadia isn’t very loved for a multitude of reasons. For this list, we’ll only focus on the main ones, though.
Google Stadia does work. It even works on your TV through Chromecast as well as the standards of PC and mobile. So, if you want that true streaming experience on your big TV, you can do that. But the problem with Stadia is that there are few options in terms of games.
There are even fewer options when you bring up the next-gen games on the service. As of right now, the only noteworthy ones that we could find are Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077, both highly anticipated games, but ones potentially coming later than the other versions.
5. Amazon Luna
The third one on this list is the most unproven service but has already shown so much great potential: Amazon Luna. Amazon recently announced its streaming service. You can only (at the time of writing this) get in if you’re chosen to.
But, unlike Google, Amazon has already proven itself when it comes to making new services and supporting them in a better way. We think of it buying Twitch (which could help this), the various Amazon Music, Video, and so on that didn’t maybe start great but grew to something special over time.
It looks like the Amazon Luna approach will be more affordable than Google Stadia and others on this list, making it especially appetizing if you’re only looking to play Ubisoft titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and others.
4. Nvidia GeForce
One of the most popular and well-known services is Nvidia GeForce, which many players use around the world. This one is really popular since it does have a free option for users on PC and mobile. It is highly limited, but it works and lets you play the games that you already own.
Since the service lets you connect to things like Steam and others, it is easy enough to pick up Cyberpunk 2077 on there on the day of its launch and then play it on mobile or PC. Given the free version’s limited nature, users might want to opt for the paid service, which is still cheaper than most.
The one problem with Nvidia GeForce is the number of platforms that it is available on. It is only currently on PC and Android, leaving out iOS, unlike others on this list. That sucks for a service that could honestly be one of the best around otherwise and an excellent alternative for Fortnite iOS players.
While Nvidia GeForce technically works better, there is one service much more accessible than it and barely beats it due to that reason and for another major feature. Rainway is a newer service lesser-known but functions much like GeForce.
It lets you connect to your favorite game stores out there like the Epic Games Store and Steam, and then play the games you already own there. The best part about Rainway, though, is that it is free and has a much more beneficial nature than the free version of GeForce.
Besides that, it is on PC and both Android and iOS, instead of just one. It even exists on Xbox One. The only thing that holds it back is the better performance, but the free nature means that you get what you paid for.
Coming up in the runner-up spot is the opposite of PlayStation Now: XCloud. On a personal note, I’ve been more of a PlayStation gamer in recent years, despite my start on the original Xbox and 360, but while Sony still has a lot to work out about its service, Microsoft has nailed its own.
XCloud is included with Game Pass Ultimate, letting you not only get access to the service but all of the games available on it. This includes all of the first-party games already out now like Gears 5 and The Outer Worlds. But this also includes future games.
The moment that Halo Infinite comes out in stores, it will be on Game Pass, meaning you will be able to stream it to your phone and potentially PC later on through XCloud. It is an excellent service that is a big bang for your buck, depending on how excited you’re for Bethesda’s idea now being owned by Microsoft.
The one downside of the service is that it isn’t on iOS yet due to Apple’s guidelines, but we do hear that it will be on there next year in one form or another. And then there is the fact that Microsoft has figured out how to make game streaming intuitive and work well with XCloud.
At the end of the day, though, there is one game streaming PC service that stands above all the rest. I have gushed about Shadow service many times already. They don’t even sponsor me; they are just that good and worth checking out.
Unlike the other services on this list, you aren’t streaming games to your mobile device or PC; you’re streaming an entire Windows PC. Just about everything you can do on that PC you can do through Shadow like play all the latest games and even do your work (which I do quite often on the go).
You can enjoy Cyberpunk 2077 and all of the other great next-gen games without really any restrictions at all, and it works pretty darn well, even with controllers hooked up. You can even use it on your TV if you can get one of the elusive Blades. But the one caveat you should know about is that you get what you pay for: Shadow is one of the most expensive services on this list, but it is also the best one overall.