Best Cloud Gaming Services in 2023
Best Cloud Gaming Services in 2023

Best Cloud Gaming Services in 2023

Cloud gaming, also known as gaming on demand, is a rapidly growing trend in the video game industry. Instead of buying expensive hardware or consoles to play games, cloud gaming allows you to stream games directly from high-powered servers to nearly any device – phone, tablet, computer or TV – using the internet. This removes the need to download or install games while giving you access to cutting-edge titles without upgrading your hardware.

As more companies enter the cloud gaming arena, it can be tough to determine which service is right for you. This review covers some of the top options in 2023 based on game libraries, performance, pricing and overall user experience.

Nvidia GeForce NOW

Nvidia GeForce NOW is one of the front runners in cloud gaming, leveraging Nvidia’s powerful graphics cards to provide high-quality game streaming.

Game Library

GeForce NOW has partnerships with major game stores like Steam, Epic Games Store, Ubisoft Connect, EA Origin and GOG. It currently provides access to over 1,400 PC games that you can play as long as you own them through those platforms or have previously purchased them. The library includes many brand-new and popular titles across genres.

There is no option for cloud-specific games. You must purchase or acquire licenses for any games you wish to play through GeForce NOW.


GeForce NOW offers surprisingly impressive performance, capable of up to 1080p at 120fps streaming. This requires a 20Mbps internet connection using Ethernet. On weaker connections, it defaults to 720p 60fps or lower, scaling well to the capabilities of your network.

Input lag is very minor, thanks to Nvidia’s global network of cloud servers, making most games feel responsive. Graphical settings automatically adjust but can be manually tweaked for supported games.


There are three tiers for GeForce NOW – Free, Priority ($9.99 per month) and RTX 3080 ($19.99 per month).

The Free tier has a one-hour play session length limit and potential wait times to access servers during peak periods. The paid tiers have six-hour sessions, instant access, extended GPU performance and the ability to enable ray tracing in supported titles with the RTX 3080 option.

User Experience

GeForce NOW has clients for Windows, macOS, Android TV, smart TVs and more. The interface is clean, simple and focused primarily on your gaming libraries linked to supported platforms. Launching and connecting to games is quick and seamless.

Performance and input lag are amazing, considering this is cloud streaming. Visually, many games look nearly indistinguishable from running them natively on a powerful gaming PC.

The hourly play limit on the free tier is the biggest drawback for more casual users. But overall, GeForce NOW sets the bar very high for cloud gaming services.

Google Stadia

As a tech giant entering the gaming space, Google Stadia offers some unique capabilities but has yet to gain as much traction as other established services.

Game Library

The Google Stadia game library currently sits around 200 titles, significantly smaller than competitors. It includes popular franchises like FIFA, Assassin’s Creed, and Marvel’s Avengers, as well as exclusive Stadia games such as Gylt.

Many major releases still don’t make it onto the platform. But Stadia aims to reduce friction by not requiring you to re-purchase games you already own through supported PC platforms.


When it launched, Google Stadia’s performance was highly inconsistent. But over time, the service has become quite reliable – delivering smooth 4K 60fps gameplay over 35Mbps connections. Visual quality is superb, and input latency is impressive enough for most single-player games.

Google’s infrastructure gives Stadia the highest performance ceiling. However, it does not have as many data centre locations as other services, impacting latency for some players.


There are only two tiers for Stadia. The Free tier lets you purchase and play games at up to 1080p resolution. The Stadia Pro subscription costs $9.99 per month and bumps streaming quality up to 4K while providing access to occasional free games.

You must buy nearly all games on an individual basis, reinforcing the smaller library. Multiplayer requires the Pro tier subscription.

User Experience

Google Stadia has clients for Android, iOS, computers, and Chromecast Ultra. It works seamlessly across devices using your Google account. The store interface highlights new releases, deals, and recommended titles based on your preferences.

Setting up the Stadia controller or other input device is quick and easy. Jumping into games takes seconds without lengthy installs or updates. The ability to stream up to 4K resolution shows off Google’s technical capabilities, even if the game selection does not compete with other services yet.

As Google builds out the platform with more titles, pricing incentives and platform support, Stadia could become a very compelling offering. But it isn’t quite on par with more established competitors today.

Xbox Cloud Gaming

Built on Microsoft’s Azure platform, Xbox Cloud Gaming provides seamless integration with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for a very affordable cloud gaming solution.

Game Library

Xbox Cloud Gaming grants you access to over 100 popular console and PC games via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for one flat rate. New Xbox exclusives get added on the release date. And you can purchase titles outside of Game Pass individually.

The library includes Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator and other first-party powerhouses in addition to major third-party franchises. It is a fantastic value proposition for cloud gaming.


Xbox Cloud Gaming streams up to 1080p at 60fps. Visual quality is quite good, preserving much of the console experience. However, fast-paced competitive games suffer from slightly more latency than rival cloud services.

As Microsoft continues improving the Azure network and server blades, Xbox Cloud Gaming’s performance has nowhere to go but up. It scales reasonably well to slower connections also.


Xbox Cloud Gaming is bundled with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $14.99 per month. Game Pass grants access to hundreds of games for console, PC and streaming. There are almost always special promotional offers available also.

The Game Pass library removes the need to buy titles individually in most cases. You get to enjoy both downloading games natively or streaming them instantly over the cloud.

User Experience

Xbox Cloud Gaming works across Android, iOS, computers and Xbox consoles/hardware using touch or Bluetooth controller support. Integration with Xbox profiles, friends lists, achievements and other services is flawless.

Game selection happens in the Xbox app or Game Pass interface, which highlights new additions, top games, recommendations and more. Starting a streaming session is as simple as clicking “Play”.

For Xbox fans, Cloud Gaming is a fantastic extension of the console experience. Performance and input latency remain the biggest drawbacks currently. But the technology and pricing make Xbox Cloud Gaming easily one of the best values in the cloud space at just $15 monthly.

Evaluating Cloud Gaming Services

When reviewing the top cloud gaming options, there is no definitive “best service” winner. Performance and game libraries trade places between Nvidia’s GeForce NOW and solutions backed by Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud.

Here is a quick rundown of positive and negative highlights for each platform:

Nvidia GeForce NOW

  • Huge game library via Steam, Epic, etc.
  • Impressive streaming quality/performance
  • Competitive pricing tiers
  • Hourly limits on the free tier

Google Stadia

  • Stream in up to 4K
  • Made by Google reliability
  • Smaller game library
  • Few pricing incentives

Xbox Cloud Gaming

  • Hundreds of games via Game Pass
  • Tight Xbox ecosystem integration
  • Input latency needs improvement
  • Amazing value proposition

The exciting part about cloud gaming is how early it still is in terms of mass adoption. Internet infrastructure and video encoding continue to improve each year alongside enhanced competition. This leads to better performance, libraries and pricing for services as they vie for the still-growing user base.

For those looking to try cloud gaming, Xbox Cloud Gaming via Game Pass Ultimate represents the most affordable option, with hundreds of games for just $15 monthly. Nvidia GeForce NOW offers a free tier for more casual usage. And services backed by the likes of Google, Amazon, Sony and others hint at how much room the industry has left to grow and innovate.

About author


Phillip Zakas, a game developer with deep knowledge and insight into gaming, brings his expertise and skills to the Sobat Gaming team.
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