Game streaming services are platforms for the enjoyment of both gamers and streamers. There are many to choose from, with different features altogether. These will depend on your devices, internet connection, and game interests.
With a growing number of these game streaming services online, it may be hard to choose which ones you should subscribe to. This list runs down everything you need to know about the 16 best game streaming services.
What Are Game Streaming Services?
When gamers record themselves playing a game to a live audience online, they’re into video game live streaming. Think of it as watching your favorite football game on TV, but with a wider reach.
Game streaming services give you access to content like this but are most popular for bringing your favorite games to you. Other game streaming services, as you will find out on this list, offer both.
But why would you need to play a game through a platform and not directly through your consoles of PC? Sometimes you need stronger hardware.
What Are They For?
For streamers, game streaming services are their bread and butter. They get paid by advertisers and loyal subscribers to keep delivering gaming content filled with jokes, commentary, and game walk-throughs.
For avid gamers, game streaming services give them the opportunity to play games they cannot play to their full potential. Through game streaming services, you will be connected to a more powerful server and hardware, playing wherever you can afford to. This can mean your phone, your PC, or your consoles.
All you will need is an internet connection, a device of your choice, and compatible game streaming services. Your devices will be a medium to another more powerful device, bridging you to the best gaming experiences possible.
How Much Are They?
Prices for game streaming services range from free to over $15 a month, depending on what you subscribe to. There are game streaming services for specific consoles and devices. Some have cross-platform features, which will make for a slightly more expensive subscription.
16 Best Game Streaming Services
The most common game streaming service these days is Twitch. This can be attributed to the platform’s accessibility and ease. On Twitch, gamers can stream whatever game they are playing for anyone in the world.
Other than this, people often go to Twitch to watch international e-sports tournaments. However, these are only as popular as Twitch is useful. Apart from being accessible, Twitch also provides a good roster of games to download and stream anytime.
All you need to get active on Twitch is an internet connection. For those who want to peruse the site without ads, a subscription to Twitch Turbo is available. Twitch users are also known to pay for the subscription services of their favorite streamers. Adding to this, they can also make PayPal donations to keep certain channels alive.
On Twitch, you can also expect tips, tricks, features, and the best hacks from the world’s most experienced gamers. More often than not, popular Twitch streamers have other gigs like running a Youtube channel or professionally playing esports so these people are not your average joes.
The main appeal of Twitch is that it is also a platform for people to get started on their gaming careers. Later in the article, you will see the best games to stream on game streaming services. This goes for streamers and audiences alike.
Sony has come a long way with its game streaming services. When the PlayStation network began, it received flack for its limited platforms. Previously, people needed a PlayStation console to enjoy Sony’s best party games with your friends.
PlayStation Now is Sony’s best effort at reaching as many people as possible. At $5-$10 a month, you can access over 800 games on your PCs or PlayStation 4s. With a library this big, boredom is not an option.
Included in this library are cult classic games from the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 games. By the time the PlayStation 5 rolls around, you best believe that the PlayStation Now will make room for all PlayStation 4 games you like.
The biggest appeal of the platform is that it enables cross-playing as much as it can. Because this is available on PC, you can download your favorite PlayStation games without having to play on your console. Like the Xbox Pass, these downloads are direct to the system you are using.
However, note that PC players will still need a DualShock 4 controller and ample internet speed (at least 5 Mbps) to access their favorite PlayStation games. Also, remember that the cross-playing feature cannot always be direct renderings. There are limitations on both platforms that bar exact gameplay.
Nvidia GeForce Now
For experienced gamers, one of the best game streaming services is Nvidia GeForce Now. Its biggest selling point is that you can connect it to your accounts on Steam, Uplay, or Epic games. By doing this, GeForce Now can sync your game libraries together. It eliminates the need for double-downloads, taking up unnecessary space on your PCs/consoles.
After this download, all you have to do is play on the platform of your choice. The GeForce Now is available on PC, Mac, Nvidia Shield, and Android. Because you can sync it with your other game libraries, you can use it without spending at all. Its prices range from $0-$5 a month.
Choosing to pay for GeForce Now has unique benefits though. Free tier users often struggle with the platform’s traffic, because it limits their playtime. When streaming games, playtime should be the least of your problems. Subscribing to GeForce Now gives you a longer time limit and prioritizes you whenever you are in line.
If these were not enough to get you to play via GeForce Now, knowing about the game on it may help. Their library has Assassin’s Creed Origins and Injustice 2. It will also have the most-awaited game of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077. Gamers have been waiting for this game for years, so get the GeForce Now and check if you meet the Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements before you get started.
Shadow by Blade
Another popular option in this list of game streaming services is Shadow. Like GeForce Now, you can link your Steam or other gaming accounts to Shadow. This makes it easier for you to have a solid grasp of your gaming library. Moreover, it makes it more accessible on any platform you want to game on.
However, Shadow edges other game streaming services on this list because of its hardware power. People who stream games via Shadow will experience playing on a GTX 1080 GPU, with games at 4K or 1080p. The gameplay in features like these are unmatched: when else can you use a 12 GB DDR4 RAM with 256 GB of storage? Even better, you do all of this remotely.
Play on world-class hardware through your usual PC, Mac, iOS, or Android devices. All you have to do is connect your gaming accessories and start playing.
This quality gaming experience does come at a cost, though. You need 15 Mbps to play Shadow games in the best performance possible. Subscribing to the platform is also significantly more expensive than getting your usual PlayStation Now.
While its features resemble the GeForce Now the most, their prices could not be more different. A Shadow subscription will cost you about $12-$15 a month, depending on your subscription service. It also does not have a free trial period, sifting serious users to those seeking a one-time experience.
On the other end of the game streaming service spectrum is Hatch. This is not as heavy-duty as its colleagues, but this is the best thing about it.
Smartphones make everything even more accessible, and gaming industries are definitely not getting the shorter end of the stick. Mobile gaming is the biggest it has ever been, with recent big-name releases such as the League of Legends.
Hatch streams games for mobile gamers, but it does not mean it has low stake gaming. It boasts over 200 titles for mobile gaming and features that make it easier for all gamers to start their own esports teams.
Chatting with other players is easy on Hatch, and as new competitive gamers are born, so do the prizes on the platform rise.
PC-only gamers may be interested in Remotr. This is one of the few free game streaming services on this list, but it does not sacrifice its quality in doing so. Actually, it even delivers features that premium game streaming services offer, such as playing on different devices.
With Remotr, you can play the most powerful games on your Android, iPhone, tablet, or PC. The most popular of these is the PC, as this is where the most dedicated gamers spend most of their gaming anyway.
To get this up and running, you have to install two programs that manage your host and receiver servers. These are quick processes, and after setting these up you can begin your gaming.
Popular on Remotr is co-op gaming. Because of its easy access and compatibility, many party games are played on this platform. Remotr brings the best games with you everywhere. Mobile gamers will have a ball with this on their phones.
It doesn’t matter where you want to play your games, Remotr has any device of yours covered.
Xbox Game Pass
Next on the list is the classic Xbox Game Pass. This is one of the most popular game streaming services on here, and for a good reason too.
Getting an Xbox Game Pass lessens your need for a strong internet connection, which has been a prerequisite for all the other game streaming services above. All you need to get started is to download your favorite games onto your Xbox or PC. You can link your Xbox games to your gaming PC with no problem at all.
Everything else about your gaming experience is on you. You can control your streaming quality, play on either your Xbox or PC, and even decide if you want to get your VR headsets in the mix.
Although, if you want to play using a VR headset but you do not have one, you can check out our top picks of VR headsets for immersive gaming.
Going back, subscription to this tried and tested platform has average costs. You can get an Xbox Game Pass for only $10 a month, which is more or less what you will be spending with a PlayStation Now.
This also has over a hundred games to choose from, so choose your platforms wisely.
From tried and tested to new and innovative, the next game streaming service on this list is the xCloud.
Formerly known as Project xCloud, this is a platform by Microsoft to make gaming more accessible. The goal of this project is to give as many high-end Xbox and PC games to as many players as possible, regardless of the devices they are using.
This is not a new idea, as you can see from the other game streaming services above. However, what makes this standout is that it is backed up by Microsoft.
This tech company is very much one of the most powerful in the world, so gameplay using the xCloud will not be delivering anything less than the standard. For example, the platform will be using Microsoft’s high-end 54 Azure data centers.
Premium gaming will no longer need premium gaming consoles, as the xCloud wants to be accessible to mobile gamers. Tablets and smartphones, wherever they are connected, can get Microsoft’s xCloud.
Unfortunately, testing for xCloud is not closed. However, Microsoft is still on its way to make gaming ubiquitous. Those who participated in Project xCloud still have access to their accounts.
For those who missed out, you can keep tabs on the brave project through Xbox Wire.
It is about time for Google to join in on the business of game streaming service. With its hold on the tech industry as well as a social media juggernaut, YouTube, people suspected the platform to come up with the Stadia earlier.
Google Stadia is a game streaming service available on any Google Chrome browser. It gives its users the ability to stream games in 4K through their phones, tablets, laptops, and even television sets. Doing this, the Stadia begins to take over the uses of a regular video game console.
Though still budding technology, the Stadia already has games like Red Dead Redemption II, Assassin’s Creed, and Mortal Kombat 11 in their library. These, and their many other games, are also updated regularly.
Beyond this, the Stadia also brings something new to the mix. Because of Google’s connections to Youtube, the Stadia gives gamers the chance to play with their favorite streamers in a matter of seconds. Joining a game stream on Youtube has never been this easy.
Stadia links on video descriptions will take you to the game your favorite streamer and the rest is your fun to make. If you want to play the same game at a different time, you can save it at the checkpoint of your choosing.
Their library is still growing, but Google Stadia already has features that challenge other game streaming services. No one knows when Stadia will call a checkmate.
Riding off the discussion of the Google Stadia is YouTube. This is another popular gaming streaming service that well deserves a spot on this list for pure accessibility alone.
YouTube is a melting pot of content, but gaming has arguably been its most popular. Its largest Youtuber, Pewdiepie, was a gamer. Everyone else followed suit since.
On YouTube, you can live-stream your gaming as long as you follow their Community Guidelines. Since YouTube is as big as it is, the platform has more limitations than other game streaming services. Age, for example, plays a big part in these limitations.
However, the biggest downfall of using YouTube as your main game streaming provider is that you cannot play games on the platform. Hopefully, Google Stadia addresses these concerns. For now, though, YouTube is for watching only.
This, of course, is moot if you consider small trivia questions and choose-your-own-adventure videos as “games.”
Playkey is one of the lesser-known game streaming services on this list. Based in Russia without any servers in North America, it is not hard to imagine why. However, the features of this platform are just as good as other game streaming services. The main differences would be: there are not as many playing as with, for example, the GeForce Now.
You can link your Steam, Origin, Battle.net, and uPlay accounts to your Playkey account. From here, you can play games for as high as 1080p at 6 fps on your PCs. Should you not have games on these accounts, you can opt to buy your games at Playkey. You will be using the same set of powerful servers at the end of the day.
For context, the servers you would be using are in Frankfurt, London, and Moscow. This should not derail you from wanting to try Playkey though, because unlike other game streaming services, the platform is decentralized. All you need to start playing is a GTX 1080.
The payment scheme on Playkey differs from its competitors. On Playkey, you pay by the hour. Plans on the platform start at $40 for 200 hours and end at unlimited gameplay for $45 a month. If you are limiting your gameplay, a 70-hour plan at $35 is also a choice for you.
Cloud game streaming on Parsec is simple yet powerful. This platform is good for anyone who simply enjoys bouts of gaming by the hour. Like Playkey, you can rent Parsec servers per hour. These costs begin at about $.50 – $.80, depending on the servers you choose and other factors.
Once these accumulate per month, however, the price of using Parsec shoots up to $45 a month. Compared to other game streaming services, this price can be quite steep. Thus, this platform is best for gamers looking for good gaming platforms but do not want to tie themselves to a monthly subscription.
Parsec is as powerful as it goes, powered by Amazon Web Services and their own data centers. Servers are located in New York City, San Francisco, and Amsterdam. With these, you can play classic games that you grew up loving at 60 fps.
The whole idea behind Parsec is that it reminisces a time where gaming used to be by the hour. Moreover, its roster of games, as you can imagine, is also best played with friends. Deep woven stories are not as common, and Parsec is all about the fun of gaming with friends.
Steam Link Anywhere
If you want to get experimental with the game streaming services you are trying, Valve’s Steam Link Anywhere is an option for you.
Any gamer knows Steam’s value to their lives. The platform is popular for getting games as soon as possible. However, before the Steam Link, game streaming services did not include Steam.
Now you can try to play your favorite Steam games from your computer to your other devices. It will not matter where you are in the world, you only need your Steam hardware or Steam app and fast internet connection. Unfortunately, you can only play through Windows and Android devices.
As you can expect, budding projects such as the Steam Link Anywhere are not void of downfalls. It is still unclear what kind of internet connection is best for Steam Link players, and Steam hardware still leaves a lot to be desired.
Vortex offers the same basic features of game streaming services at a modest price. At $9.99 a month, you get to stream from their library of 80+ games. There is no need for you to buy these games through Vortex too: linking Steam accounts is possible through Vortex.
Samples of games in Vortex include Rainbow Six: Siege, Fortnite, The Witcher III, and Minecraft. You can play these through Vortex on your Android phones, Windows PC, and Chrome browsers.
Make sure your internet connection is at the very least at 10 Mbps for Vortex to work on your devices.
HP Omen Game Stream
People who own HP Omen gaming PCs have the chance to use their high-quality game streaming services. The Omen Game Steam App links your games to other Windows 10 PCs as long as you have a stable Wi-Fi connection.
An obvious con for this platform is that it cannot do much for your other devices. It only links HP Omen gaming PCs to your non-gaming PCs. For this, the usual requirements apply: HP drivers on both your PCs, a copy of your favorite game, and Wi-Fi.
This option is best for professional gamers as the HP Omen Game Stream has command centers that can evaluate your gaming as you play. Think of this as less of a game streaming service and more of a training ground. With AI, the HP Omen Game Stream can identify your strengths and weaknesses for you.
These days, AI does more for your games than you think. There are many exciting AI games you should try right now.
The very last of the game streaming services on this list is Rainway. This platform packs a punch with high-quality features that all come for free.
To begin with, Rainway lets you stream games from your pre-existing libraries. You can link your Steam, Origin, uPlay, or Battle.net accounts to your Rainway accounts with no problem at all. This is not all, however.
You can also stream your game to your web browsers, which eliminates the need for you to log on and off your other accounts. Unlike other game streaming services on this list, Rainway is compatible with both Mac and Windows PCs.
With Rainway, you can stream from your cell phones too. The platform is available for both Android and iOS phones.
After linking your devices and accounts on Rainway, you can now meddle with your gameplay. You can control your Stream’s GPUs, monitors, and stream quality.
Best Games to Stream
League of Legends
Every gamer has had a round of League of Legends (LoL) at one point or another. It is one of the biggest games on Twitch and is one of the best games you can stream.
Those who want to get started on League of Legends should know that this is a multiplayer online battle game with millions of players worldwide. For older players, a precursor to LoL’s gameplay would be classics like Dota (Defense of the Ancients).
Competitive LoL players, such as Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, are known to win millions of dollars with their teams in esports tournaments.
Phasmophobia is a popular indie horror game sweeping game streaming on all possible game streaming services. It does not take much to run the game, but people play it for the experience more than the graphics anyway.
A game by Kinetic Games, Phasmophobia finds its players in teams hunting for ghosts in different locations. The goal of the game is to collect as much evidence as possible, defining what ghosts haunt which areas you visit.
Being indie’s new horror darling, Phasmophobia has made waves on YouTube. Long-time gamer Pewdiepie even took a break from his commentary videos to play a round of this horror game, something he has not done in years.
Anyone who has not tried Phasmophobia is missing out on horror’s favorite new game.
Fortnite, despite its release in 2017, is already a classic. Game streaming services are flooded with Fortnite gamers and streamers. In fact, as of 2019, Fortnite has received millions of views on Twitch.
For a brief background, Fortnite is a survival battle royale game. Players are often left to their own devices, which is a stark contrast to games like LoL, where teams are common.
The goal is to always be the last person standing. This is not hard for competitive players that know $40 million dollars are on the line.
On game streaming services, you will also find popular free-to-play multiplayer game Valorant. This is a first-person shooter game that gives classics like Counter-Strike a run for its money.
Playing Valorant, you have to attack or defend your team from your opponents. If you are in a defensive position, your goal is to stop the other team from planting a bomb in your vicinity in the first place. Should that not work, your team has to learn to defuse said bombs.
Attackers have an obvious goal: plant the bomb, or what Valorant players call the ‘spike’.
This is an easy game to pick-up but quite difficult to master. The roster of Valorant players worldwide grows each day because of the game’s popularity.
Among Us is an indie game that gained traction this year. Game streaming services are full of Among Us memes, cosplays, and merchandise because of this. It is no secret why this multiplayer game is so popular though.
With a simple premise, anyone of any age can play Among Us. You will find yourself in an outer space mission with a group of four to ten people. As you carry out your missions, you have to guess who the group’s imposters are. This can be you, or anyone else around you.
The goal of cabin crew members is to catch the real imposter/s. They can do this by deliberating midgame.
Imposters, on the other hand, have to sabotage and kill as many crew members as possible. Their goal is to make the mission fail.
This game is a fun play with your friends and family, especially at the advent of COVID-19, where social situations are less common.
You can play this game for free on your phone or through Steam download on PC. If you are an interested Among Us PC player, there is so much more you need to know.
There are many game streaming services to choose from in 2020. However, they are not all cut from the same cloth. Their priorities can differ even though their features can be similar. Some advocate for cross-platform playing, while others want to be the Netflix for gaming.
Either way, every gamer will find value in the best game streaming services. They give unique access to games that need high-performance GPUs and hundreds of gigabytes of storage space.