One of the most exciting things we can do nowadays is buying new devices, whether it be a new laptop, smartphone, GPU, or console. I just got myself a Note 20, and although the feeling of excitement was no different than before, there was something different I did when I got my new powerful phone. Let me explain.
Most of us use our phones as social tools. Some of us use them for work-related purposes (side note: the Office Suite is really good on Android, you should try it), and now gaming is becoming an even more prominent use for our mobile devices. Now I’m not here saying mobile game players are “gamers”, but there are ways to use my shiny new $1000 Note 20 that can enhance my gaming hobby. I want to go over some of those ways, and I will be focusing on how you can connect PC Gaming to your mobile device.
Steam Link is a quite interesting one as it is not as cut and dry as Microsoft’s xCloud, and other available game streaming services. Steam Link requires you to have a gaming PC, or PC powerful enough to run the games you want. It uses the hardware from the PC and then it streams it to your phone, and because most phones have a 1080p display the resolution is low enough to keep a stable frame rate and low enough latency so that it doesn’t ruin the playing experience. You can leave your PC in sleep mode (which most of us do all the time anyway), and still be able to select the game and have it boot up on your rig. The service then utilizes the hardware to run the game and streams it to your device. Some games will feature touch controls, while others would require some sort of controller input. Which option is supported is determined on a game by game basis and frankly I’m not sure I’d wanna play Doom Eternal, or many other titles I can think of, with touch controls. In my opinion, you do need a some form of controller or keyboard and mouse to really get the best experience. Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about Steam Link is that is is 100% free to use. You can find any additional information on the Steam website.
Nvidia GeForce Now
Nvidia Geforce Now is the more casual-friendly game streaming service available on mobile I would say. You log in to your steam and other launchers through the GeForce NOW app, and you choose a game and it installs it on hardware that is owned and operated by Nvidia themselves. Although you can play games you own, the service also offers a library of free-to-play games as well. As with other stream services, the hardware maintained by Nvidia streams the games to your mobile device. The current offerings for GeForce NOW range from a free tier that limits the user’s access to 1-hour sessions, to a “Founders” package that runs $4.99/mo. This paid tier offers the user priority access to the service, as well as extended session length and “RTX ON” setting for compatible games. More information on Nvidia’s GeForce Now service can be found here.
These two game streaming services seem to be at the forefront of bridging the PC-gaming and mobile device worlds. Although I don’t have personal experience with some of the console game streaming services currently available, I have heard that Microsoft’s xCloud is quite good and comparable to the services I’ve mentioned thus far.
Mobile gaming has come a long way in a rather short time, and now that we can easily connect proper ways to play games to our mobile devices it seems to only be growing faster. The foundation has been laid, and although more infrastructure and refinement will be needed it’s refreshing to see the avenues available to gamers continue to grow. Change is good.