While there have been many companies to offer this functionality, PlayStation Now is by far the biggest due to its association with Sony's gaming brand. The service lets gamers pay a monthly fee for access to numerous titles which they can stream to their PlayStation 4 consoles over the internet. There are issues with image quality and latency which have yet to be resolved, but overall it's an acceptable experience if you want to play games from previous generations.
While there are a couple of similar options available for PC, the Xbox One has been left behind. The console lets players stream their Xbox One games to PC, but there's no great way to stream PC games on Xbox One at low latency. Simply using Miracast to project your PC screen onto your Xbox One doesn't work well because of the lag.
Luckily, a recent streaming service called Rainway wants to change that. While Rainway isn't a traditional subscription-based game streaming platform, it still allows you to play all of your existing PC games on a number of devices as long as they're connected to the internet. The developer claims to offer minimal latency no matter if you're on a mobile device or an Xbox One.
According to the developer, Rainway is built upon a few key principles. It's unclear how the platform is funded because it's supposedly free for everyone. Some of the main features and options are listed below.
- The developer claims that Rainway will always be completely free to use with no hidden cost. You can stream all your games, whenever you want, wherever you are, for as long as you want.
- You don't need to type in an IP address or forward ports to stream games. Rainway handles all of that for you. You can play your game remotely on fully secured channels.
- Rainway apparently works on all modern hardware. The developer says that Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA professors are all supported out of the box. In order to use Rainway you can either can a browser or one of their many upcoming native applications.
- Rainway is designed with speed in mind, and tuned to avoid impacting the performance of your game. The team says that you can enjoy 60 FPS streams with super low-latency gameplay. It's unclear just how low the latency is as no such data was revealed by the developer.
- Rainway has an overlay screenshot tool for you to take stills of your best gaming moments to share with friends.
- The developer says that you can customize Rainway stream settings. You can control the frame rate, resolution, and even bit rate. You can even upscale and downscale any game.
There's a Rainway beta scheduled for January 20, 2018 which only covers the browser version of the platform. After that it'll launch on mobile devices. Luckily, the developer said that after mobile comes the Xbox One version. Hopefully the software will live up to expectations because many such promises have been made in the past but none have delivered.
The main problem with game streaming is the input lag. If you internet connection isn't strong enough or there's an issue with the servers, games can become unplayable. Hopefully the makers of Rainway have taken that into account and worked out a feasible solution. However, only time will tell. We'll provide you with more coverage as soon as the beta launches and we can test it out.
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