Shadow is riding the wave of cloud-gaming buzz generated by big players such as Nvidia (), Google ( ) and Microsoft ( ). It’s expanding in the US with new plans and pricing for its PC-in-the-cloud service and a forthcoming experiment with VR timed to coincide with Valve’s . Shadow has also entered a strategic partnership with LG, .
Shadow — no relation to— resembles GeForce Now more than other cloud-gaming services. It launches a virtual machine, which you can use to stream Windows games you’ve already paid for to a variety of low-power devices including phones, TVs and pokey laptops. But, unlike GeForce, Shadow gives you a persistent, full Windows PC, which makes it a lot more flexible. You can play any Windows game, not just selectively supported ones, and you can use it as a regular old desktop as well.
Shadow pricing plans
|Cost||$11.99 a month with annual commitment or $14.99 month-to-month||$24.99 a month with annual commitment or $29.99 month-to-month||$39.99 a month with annual commitment or $49.99 month-to-month|
|Availability||Now||Beginning summer 2020 with full rollout by end of year||Beginning summer 2020 with full rollout by end of year|
|Quality||Up to 4K 60fps or 1080p 144fps, quad-core processor, GTX 1080 equivalent, 12GB RAM, 256GB storage||Up to 4K 60fps or 1080p 144fps, quad-core processor, GTX 1080 equivalent, 12GB RAM, 256GB storage||Up to 4K 60fps or 1080p 144fps, quad-core processor, GTX 1080 equivalent, 12GB RAM, 256GB storage|
|Platforms||Windows 10, Mac OS, Ubuntu, Android, Android TV; status of Apple iOS and TV OS apps unknown||Windows 10, Mac OS, Ubuntu, Android, Android TV; status of Apple iOS and TV OS apps unknown||Windows 10, Mac OS, Ubuntu, Android, Android TV; status of Apple iOS and TV OS apps unknown|
So on Shadow I was able to procrastinate by playing Ori and the Will of the Wisps through Xbox Game Pass for PC, something you can’t do with GeForce Now. I also played My Friend Pedro, which I couldn’t do on the megapowerful system I’m testing until I debugged a crashing Nvidia driver. (Sadly, the audio was a bit glitchy.)
The company launches its cheapest plan, Shadow Boost, today nationwide. Shadow’s Ultra and Infinite plans are slated to begin limited rollouts this summer with broader availability by the end of the year. It supports a decent roster of platforms, though Apple pulled the iOS and TV OS apps from the App Store recently and there’s no ETA for their return.
Though the Boost plan comes with a measly 256GB storage, you’ll be able to upgrade for an additional monthly fee.
Shadow’s near-term VR vision sounds something like an untethered headset running an app that allows you to play desktop VR games streamed to it. Imagine anrunning SteamVR games like Half Life: Alyx, for example. It’s all still in the proof-of-concept stage, though, so don’t count on it for your Half-Life fix.