The phone is terrible for cloud gaming – The Verge

The promise of cloud gaming is that you can do it from anywhere using any device with internet access and a good enough browser (each cloud gaming service seems to have its own requirements on the browser front). You should be able to play super demanding games whether you’re on a work trip with nothing but a work laptop or at home and the main TV is being hogged — or even if you just don’t feel like sitting on the couch. But the biggest promise of cloud gaming is that, no matter where you are, if you’ve got a phone then you’ve got all your games.

In practice, this is a bad idea. After spending the last few weeks rapturously using my Steam Deck near daily to play games in the cloud, I am never going to willingly attempt cloud gaming on my phone again. Valve’s enormous do-anything handheld PC has made me realize that, actually, sometimes dedicated gaming hardware is good! The Swiss Army knife approach to mobile gaming promised by cloud gaming on your phone is about as useful as the saw on a real Swiss Army knife. I appreciate the effort, but I don’t actually want to use it.

Cloud gaming on your phone is about as useful as the saw on a real Swiss Army knife

I’ve tried to make cloud gaming work on my phone a lot. I’ve attempted Red Dead Redemption 2 and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Halo and Gears of War and plenty of other games. Each time, I’m hit with wonder because, holy shit, these are demanding AAA games that usually require tons of expensive (and noisy) hardware playing on my phone. That feels like the delivery on a promise tech companies made me decades ago.

But the wonder wears off when you cloud game on your phone for an extended period of time. Cloud gaming drains the phone’s battery quickly, which means you can and will be feeling the battery anxiety. I once thought cloud gaming would be a miracle as I waited for a flight at the airport, but as my phone grew hotter than the sun and the battery ticked down, I found myself more worried about finding somewhere to plug in than the storyline in RDR2. I still needed my phone to have power the rest of the trip.

Cloud gaming also interferes with all the other stuff phones are good for. Notifications from other non-gaming apps make themselves known at the most irritating of times. If your mom calls to check on your flight, you will immediately get kicked out of your game. A friend texts to see when they should pick you up? You’ll have to step out of the game to respond. You can’t even check Instagram without potentially losing your progress in a game and then having to wait as the phone tries to reconnect to the cloud gaming servers.

Theoretically this is a cool way to play games. In practice, this is not a cool way to play games.

But the worst part of cloud gaming on a …….



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