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What's cloud gaming and how does it work?

For years, you played video games at home on your consoles or computer—and interruptions were the worst. If you were in a heated game of Golden Eye 007, and it was time for work, dinner, or school, you had to pause the game on a device or turn it off and start over.

Now, imagine if you could play any game on any device, whenever, wherever—so long as you have a subscription and a reliable internet connection. Thanks to a promising technology, you can.

It's called cloud gaming, and it's changing the video game industry and becoming a big business. In 2022, 31.7 million people spent $2.4 billion on cloud games and services, according to Newzoo, a gaming analytics firm. And those numbers are set to soar to 86.9 million users and $8.2 in revenue by 2025.

But what is cloud gaming, and how does it work?

Here at Asurion, we not only fix and protect your tech but also teach you about the devices that run your world—from how to protect your online gaming accounts to what is Matter and how it can affect your smart home. Here's everything you need to know about cloud gaming.

What's cloud-based gaming?

Think of cloud gaming as Netflix® or Hulu®—only for video games. Unlike traditional gaming, which requires expensive hardware, cloud gaming lets you play remotely on pretty much any compatible device: a TV, a tablet, even a smartphone. So instead of investing in expensive computers and consoles from Nintendo®, Sony®, and Microsoft®, you can use a device you already own. Cloud gaming also lets you save your progress midgame, then resume later with another device, no matter where you are.

How does cloud gaming work?

Instead of downloading and installing a game on your console or PC, cloud technology relies on remote servers in data centers to run the game and stream it over the internet, directly to your TV, mobile device, Amazon® Fire TV™ Stick, Google Chromecast®, or whatever device you're using. You don't need cables. You don't need software. You don't need extra storage space. And you don't need to wait for games to install.

Do I need any specific equipment for cloud gaming?

A cloud streaming service requires a high-speed internet connection, a compatible controller or mouse and keyboard, and video streaming devices like a tablet, laptop, or smart TV.

For more on internet speeds, read our guide to boosting your Wi-Fi.

What cloud gaming services are available today?

Cloud gaming is new, and the services are constantly changing and improving. Here are a few of the leading cloud gaming services, their subscription fees, and what they offer.

Xbox Cloud Gaming

Xbox Cloud Gaming is compatible with most devices and platforms. With a free Microsoft account, you can play Fortnite, but a Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription ($14.99 a month) gives you access to hundreds of games, plus Xbox adds new ones every month.

PlayStation Plus Premium

On the Sony cloud game streaming, you have to buy the top-tier membership, Premium, for access to cloud streaming ($17.99 a month, $49.99 every three months, or $119.99 annually). This includes hundreds of classic PlayStation games in addition to free, time-limited trials of new ones. The only potential issue: PlayStation Plus Premium is only available on PlayStation consoles and Windows PCs.

Luna

Amazon Luna® may be one of the easiest cloud gaming platforms since it's free to Amazon Prime® subscribers at no extra cost. Amazon splits up its library into “channels," or bundles, and limits free games to the Prime Gaming® channel, but you can also subscribe to others, including all Jackbox Games® ($4.99 a month), Luna+ ($9.99 a month), and Ubisoft® ($17.99 a month).

GeForce Now

With a huge library of compatible games, GeForce NOW™ links to your existing libraries on digital stores, lets you buy new games, and play free ones too. But unlike the other services, it doesn't sell games. Instead, you buy them from digital PC game stores, like Epic, Ubisoft, and Steam®.

GeForce NOW runs on pretty much every platform, and if you ever stop using it, you can keep all of your games. There are three tiers: Free, Priority ($9.99 a month), and Ultimate ($19.99 a month).

Don't let a glitched controller mean game over

The Asurion Home+® protection plan offers peace of mind for all of your eligible home tech, including your favorite gaming systems, for less than $1 per day. From graphical glitches to faulty drives, we cover your video game console and original controller from the unexpected breakdown—old, new and even future purchases. Learn more about an Asurion Home+ gaming console warranty and how you can get peace-of-mind electronics protection.


*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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