With Cloud Gaming slowly starting to make a scene in today's world, a lot of big names are getting into the Cloud Gaming scene. One of these big names is, of course, Google with their product, Stadia. With so many Cloud Gaming solutions to choose from, which is actually better? Today, we will be comparing Shadow with Google Stadia. Which is better? Well, to answer that questions, we have to look at each of these products!
What are they?
Starting with Shadow, if you follow this blog, you already know what this service is. But, for those that may be finding this post randomly in a google search or elsewhere, Shadow is a Cloud Gaming solution that essentially gives you a fully capable Windows 10 gaming computer that can be played from pretty much any device. If your device can watch Youtube videos reliably, most likely, it can run Shadow.
Unlike Shadow, Google Stadia is NOT a fully capable computer. Instead, it is more similar to having a "Cloud Console". It will essentially feel like purchasing a new console as well.
As of currently, Shadow supports most Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS Platforms. They are constantly working on and improving their applications to allow for a seamless interaction with your Shadow PC. If your computer can run a Youtube video reliably at the resolution you want to play games at, then most likely, you will be able to enjoy Shadow.
As of currently, Google Stadia can run on any PC capable of running the Google Chrome browser. This means, that it should essentially support Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. If you are looking for other devices that can run Google Stadia, then currently, only the Chromecast Ultra is supported. For mobile devices, only the Pixel 4, 3, 3A, and 2 are supported. There are reports of an Android app releasing as well, however, we will have to see at launch.
Shadow currently reliably supports 1080p at 144Hz and 4k 60Hz resolutions. Shadow allows for you to set your own Bandwidth from 5 mbps up to 70 mbps. It also allows you to select between H.264 and H.265 decoding. Depending on which decoder you select, and the bandwidth you set, your streaming quality will change. The higher the bandwidth, the better the streaming quality will be. Shadow states for 1080p resolution gaming, you should have at least 15 mbps bandwidth set. Shadow does not currently support HDR on any of its applications.
Google Stadia will launch with 4k resolution, HDR support, and 60 frames-per-second gameplay. This will require a recommended 35 mbps or higher bandwidth settings. Anything lower, and your experience will suffer a little. Google Stadia will also support other resolutions like 1440p, 1080p, and 720p resolutions. All are dependent on your available bandwidth speeds. Google is also planning to support 8k resolution sometime after the launch of Google Stadia.
Shadow has its own device called the Shadow Ghost. It is an ARM device that launches into your Shadow PC on startup. It can essentially replace your current computer for a fraction of the power usage. It supports up to 4k resolution at 60Hz and 1080p resolution at 144Hz. It has 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI 2.0 Output, 1x Audio Input/Output, 5Ghz/2.4Ghz WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 4.1. The Shadow Ghost also supports USB over IP, so your connected devices will be connected directly to your Shadow PC. The Shadow Ghost also supports Bluetooth devices such as console controllers and audio devices.
Google Stadia will work on a Chromecast Ultra. Google Stadia will also have a compatible controller called the Stadia Controller. You will need to use the Stadia Controller, or another supported controller to game while using the Chromecast Ultra.
Currently, Shadow offers a gaming pc with a 2.5Ghz Xeon Processor utilizing 4 cores and 8 threads, a Nvidia Quadro P5000 Graphics Card with 16GB of GDDR5, 12GB of DDR4 2400MHz Memory, and 256GB of Solid State Storage all being run in Shadow's Data Centers located in the United States and Europe.
Google Stadia will launch with a custom x86 2.7GHz processory with Hyperthreading and AVX 2. It will have a Graphics Processing Unit with 10.7 Teraflops of power, 56 compute units and HBM2 Memory. For RAM, it will sport 16GB of total memory with transfer speeds up to 484GB/s.
Shadow is a fully capable Windows 10 computer. You are able to download, and play any games through your favorite digital Storefronts. Steam, Epic Games, Origin, or any other ones will work without issue. If the game can run on a PC, you can run it on Shadow.
At this current moment, Google Stadia will support specific AAA titles. Google Stadia will act much like a console where games will have to support the platform before you can play it. If you are a Google Stadia Pro member, then some games will be free, however, if you are not, currently, you will have to purchase games for the platform. Once purchased, you will have instant access to the game. You can see a current list of supported games over at Google Stadia's website located here... https://store.google.com/product/stadia_games
Shadow does not have any specific features built into it. Instead, their feature is the fact that you are getting a fully functional Windows 10 computer. Shadow also have some nifty quick menu items to view current bandwidth usage, ping and latency spikes, as well as connecting devices directly to your shadow using USB over IP. Shadow is continually improving, and as of recently, you can even enable High Quality Audio. The fact that your Shadow PC can be launched on pretty much any device seamlessly is also a nifty feature. Want to switch from your PC to your TV, but don't want to lose the current point in the game you are playing? Just close the application on your PC, and go open it up on your TV. It will reconnect to your current Shadow session!
Google Stadia will have a cool feature called "Crowd Play". This feature will allow streamers to play with their viewers. Viewers can also play from current save points that the streamer they are watching is at.
Pricing and Availability
Shadow currently costs $35 if you are on a monthly commitment, or $25 a month if you opt for the yearly commitment. You can try Shadow with their introductory period for $10 for 10 days. These prices are subject to change in the near future, as they will be announcing new tiers soon. Shadow is currently available in most of Europe and the United States, and are currently expanding fast.
Google Stadia will be free if you use Google Stadia Base, which allows for 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second gaming. You will, however, have to purchase games like you would for a console. If you opt for Google Stadia Pro, it will cost you $10 a month, and will allow you to game up to 4k resolution with 60 frames per second gaming. Google Stadia will also sell the "Google Stadia Founder's Edition" for $129. It will come with three months of Google Stadia Pro, a Chromecast Ultra, a Stadia Controller, and a three month buddy pass. You can find Google Stadia supported locations at Google's website located here... https://support.google.com/stadia/answer/9338852?hl=en
Shadow and Google Stadia are both Cloud Gaming platforms, however, they are targeting separate audiences. If you want to have a seamless experience by just purchasing the game and playing, Google Stadia may be a good choice for you. If you want to have the freedom of PC gaming, and use any current games you may have already purchased for the PC, Shadow may be the best choice for you. One thing to note is that Google Stadia will not support modding, so if you are used to modding your games on the PC, you will most likely need to go with Shadow, unless you are fine with losing that ability.
In regards to pricing, Google Stadia will probably be the cheaper option in the long run, especially if you only purchase and play a few games, or utilize the free games feature of Google Stadia Pro. Shadow will be the cheaper option if you are looking to replace your home gaming PC, as it allows you to use any device. You can see a a cost comparison between Shadow and a Gaming PC in another article I wrote on this blog. Shadow vs Building a PC
Between the two, I think they both have their strong and weak points. Google Stadia will be popular for a lot of current console gamers looking to switch. Shadow will be popular for those looking to downsize or get rid of their current Gaming PC, or want to play PC games without shelling out the large upfront cost of a Gaming PC. I might take a look at Google Stadia when it releases in November, however, I will be sticking with Shadow, as I love the fact that it is a computer that I can do other things on rather then gaming :).
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