When you also consider that you’ll probably want to upgrade your hardware over time, cloud gaming can definitely be cheaper overall. It also doesn’t require the upfront commitment: if you do want to buy a gaming PC, but don’t have the money available at the moment, cloud gaming is a reasonably affordable way to tide you over until you’ve saved enough to construct your ultimate battle station.
That said, if a game you want to play isn’t specifically supported by GeForce Now, there’s no native way to launch it. However, unlike with Vortex, if you bought it through Steam it’s easy enough to work around. You can simply launch a game you don’t own, then navigate to the game you want to play through the Steam interface and launch it there.
One of the nicest things about Vortex is that ability to just sign up and go. There’s a console-like appeal in not setting up a PC to run a specific way. The games are ready for you in the client. While the streaming quality could use some work, this budget offering still has a place.
Unfortunately, GeForce Now is in closed beta at the time of writing. You can sign up for the waitlist, but there’s no guarantee of getting in. Nvidia also hasn’t announced pricing. As good as the experience is, nothing can be known of the value until Nvidia announces how much it will cost.
Cloud gaming also shows promise for the future. As streaming increases in quality and latency comes down further with wider access to fiber internet, more people might find gaming PCs to be bulky and antiquated compared to cloud alternatives. In the meantime, the best experience is still on a reliable gaming tower.
The game library is also middle of the road. Rather than providing the full library or requiring you to bring your own games, Vortex’s library of over 100 compatible games is partially paid for and partially bring-your-own-license.
For a subscription of $19.99 per month, or $44.99 per three months, you can play Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 games on your PC. The package includes all 600+ playable games, so the only thing not included in the price is the Playstation 4 controller you’ll need to use the service.
From your Mac or PC, you can use GeForce Now to access one of Nvidia’s servers equipped with a Tesla P40. While it’s hard to get any meaning out of just the GPU spec as there isn’t a lot of information about how it’s being used, the configuration works quite well. It ran with Very High settings and Pure Hair on Very High and still managed to average 79.35 frames per second. For those unfamiliar with the game, this is fairly impressive.
For someone who is just looking to get into gaming for the first time, or for someone who just wants to see what cloud gaming can offer, Vortex is a solid, flexible service that doesn’t require you to be super familiar with running a gaming PC to get on board.