This week marks my one-year mark using the Shadow Cloud Gaming platform as my main gaming rig. It has morphed from a cool idea I wanted to try; to becoming my daily driver for gaming, editing videos, photo editing, and writing on this blog.
Shadow has been a life-changer for me, and here is my story and review over the last year.
Finding out about Shadow
At the end of 2018, I was in a bit of a financial predicament. I was a few months behind on rent, and I was facing eviction. Not one of the best things I would like to admit, but it did happen.
Facing this issue, unfortunately, I had to get rid of my laptop I use for gaming. A Dell Precision 7720 that I had for a few years. Not the greatest for gaming, but the Quadro P4000 in it allowed me to play games with little issues.
However, now that I had to sell it, the only laptop I had was an Acer E15 with a GeForce 940MX. Not the greatest for gaming, but I made it work. As newer games came out, the 940MX was showing its struggles, and I needed to find something better.
So, I went on youtube and started to research cheap gaming laptops. This was when I ran across a video from Linus Tech Tips about Shadow.
The idea interested me, but I was skeptical about this "Cloud Gaming" idea, as I am an avid Remote Desktop user for work and run a bunch of virtual machines in my home lab, and they were never the greatest for gaming or video watching.
So, I wondered how Shadow was able to stream at high FPS with decent quality. That is when I decided to try the 10-day trial.
Using Shadow for the First Time
I was blown away. My 10-day trial went by quickly, and I absolutely loved the platform. Not only could I use Shadow on any one of my devices, but I was also finally able to play the games I wanted to play on my Acer E15 with little to no issues!
Playing games at 1080p resolution with a constant 60FPS stream was just... amazing.
I quickly subscribed for the year-long agreement for $24.95 a month and started my journey using Shadow.
Issues I have had with Shadow
I would love to say that Shadow is perfect. I am a Shadow user, and I absolutely love the platform, and I plan on sticking with it permanently, however, I have run into some issues while using Shadow that I would consider a bit... annoying.
First, is the periodic ping spikes or latency issues. This was more prominent in my first 6 months of using Shadow, and has gotten significantly better as of late, but, I would get periodic ping spikes or latency issues that would just cause my inputs to take a few seconds or jump.
Another issue that still persists today, albeit not as much as well, is Audio stuttering or Audio static. This is mainly due too packet loss that could be an issue via my ISP, or it could be an issue with Shadow. It is hard to tell, but I have not found a resolution for the problem. It only happens randomly. As of the last 3 or so months, it has occurred far fewer than the first 9 months of Shadow usage.
Those are the two major issues I have had/currently have, and though they can get annoying, especially if I am recording something for Luro.io, they are not deal breakers for me.
Benefits from using Shadow
Shadow has allowed me two significant benefits.
The first being Technological Minimalism. A few months back, I started to get big into the "Minimalism" movement. Basically, it is the act of being more conscious about the "stuff" you own, and not allowing "things" to control your life.
For me, that involved cutting down on a lot of crap I held on to and the constant "needing" of newer technology. This caused me a lot of depression and jealousy when I saw fellow colleagues getting that new phone, Samsung releasing that new Quantum Dot QLED 49in monitor, or seeing Dell release that new XPS laptop that I always wanted.
Shadow allowed me to take a step back, and look at the hardware I have right now, and see that they can now last me even longer, as long as they can run Shadow.
I wrote a blog post about Cloud Gaming and Minimalism if you want to check it out!
The next significant benefit is having a powerful pc at an affordable price. I mean heck, with the new tier pricing, I currently have Shadow Boost that gives me a decent processor with a Quadro P5000 for $11.99 a month. That is $144 a year to access a PC that is just as good, if not a bit better, then the Dell Precision 7720 I had to get rid of a few years back, and that thing cost me significantly more than $144 a year to get...
Even with the newer tiers, Shadow Ultra and Shadow Infinite, you get access to fantastic hardware for $25 a month or $40 a month. Building a PC of the same caliber of these tiers will cost you in the upper thousand to multiple thousands. And the fact that they use Quadro cards helps A LOT with video editing and other workload processes I need it for.
It is a lot easier to stomach paying $12 a month, instead of $1000+ for a new computer every 3-5 years.
Shadow has allowed me to start Luro.io. It has given me the hardware to stream on Twitch, record benchmark videos, and create a multi-platform option that I can access all of my stuff without needing to move them from device to device. It also gives me ridiculously fast download and upload speeds for when I need to download a new game or upload a new video to youtube.
Shadow has really helped me do what I want to do, even though I thought it wouldn't be possible unless I saved up a nice chunk of money.
Yes, there are times I wish I had a gaming desktop, but these are few and far between, and the benefits of using Shadow far outweigh the cost of building a new gaming rig or buying a new gaming laptop.
I highly suggest that if you are looking for a budget-friendly way to game on any one of your devices, check out Shadow! Even if you have the money to build a new gaming rig, try Shadow for a month. You may decide against it :).
Thank you for reading, and until next time!