Cloud based streaming services are all the rage these days. Nowadays, it’s not just about binge watching your favorite TV show or movie. Cloud streaming has also hit the gaming scene. There have been many who tried to setup a cloud gaming service. From Sony’s PS Now to Nvidia’s GeForce Now, these companies have been trying to achieve one goal: to make games accessible to all.
How does a cloud gaming service work?
In theory, it sounds quite simple. Rather than having your own gaming PC at home, you simply log in to an online service and stream the game to your device. So you would play a game just like you would on your PC. The only difference being that the game is actually hosted on a PC that is perhaps miles away.
No, he’s not a vampire hunter who has an array of cool gadgets. Blade is a company that was launched in 2016 in France. Their primary product is Shadow. This is a cloud gaming service that essentially turns any device with a screen and Internet connection into a high performance PC.
The company offers users their own dedicated, high end virtual machine, rather than pooling from existing resources. Here is where things get interesting: Blade will announce at CES 2018 that they are expanding Shadow cloud to America. There’s a catch though. The Shadow cloud service will only be sold in areas where Blade has data centers. This is to ensure low-latency performance.
Where will Blade be available?
For now, Blade will only be launching their Shadow cloud service in California on the 15th of February 2018. They plan to expand further within the coming months and have promised to cover the entire continental US by Summer 2018. Blade would also have a number of local data centers scattered across the US for low latency, to make sure that they can keep up with the load.
How will users be able to access Shadow?
Available for Windows PCs, Macs, and Android devices through dedicated apps, Shadow is best used on an internet connection of over 15 Mbps if you want the best performance. Blade is also planning to launch a dedicated Shadow cloud computer box towards the latter part of 2018. The device will be able to connect to a screen, keyboard and mouse, just like a normal PC.
Taking a look inside Blade’s Shadow servers
In terms of specs, each dedicated machine on Shadow cloud would be equipped with a high end Nvidia graphics card capable of handling Full HD games at 144Hz or 4K at 60Hz. The system would also pack 12GB of DDR4 RAM, a Xeon processor, and 256GB of storage. Blade will also continuously upgrade their machines over time so that users always have the latest hardware to play their favorite games on.
Users can access Shadow via any desktop PC, laptop, Mac, tablet, smartphone or smart TV running the dedicated Windows, MacOS and Android apps. On the other hand, if you do not have the components in place, the folks at Blade have also developed the Shadow Box. This essentially packs an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit that is capable of real time decoding in 1080p at 144Hz or 4K at 60Hz.
Blade in the present
Currently, due to the geographical limitations, and the fact that each user needs a dedicated machine in a local data center to perform well, Blade has only been successful in selling a few thousand devices in France.
Although, if Blade is hoping to expand into America, their current business plan might need a bit of an upgrade. Then there’s also the issue of pricing. Aside from the service’s very limited availability, there’s also the price. As you probably know, giving users hardware capable of running 4K games at 60FPs is by no means a cheap task.
How much will Shadow cost?
Blade subscriptions for Shadow start off at $34.95 per month (LKR. 5,364.48), $39.95 per month (LKR. 6131.93) for three months, or $49.95/ per month (LKR 7,669.82). So for around $420 to $600 per year, you can play games at max settings.
Although, this is without taking into account the cost of games. These have to be bought online and installed, just like on a normal PC. So it’s essentially the full PC experience, with the only difference being that you don’t have a physical system in place.
It will be interesting to note how well Shadow and Blade will perform in the US once launched. After all Nivida’s GeForce Now, while offering almost the exact same features, proved to be not quite the hit that the company was expecting. If Blade can play their cards right, they could possibly catch the market of its competitors and grow equally fast.
You can learn more about Blade and Shadow cloud gaming here.