Review Roundup: The Shadow Ghost – take your games anywhere
Can the Shadow Ghost deliver reliable game streaming?
Streaming is a hot topic in the world of games right now. From Microsoft to Google to Amazon, it seems everyone is working on a way to bring games to anyone that has an interest in playing them. The idea behind game streaming is solid – the ability to play basically any game you want, without having to spend a bunch of money on a new console or gaming PC.
There are still some issues with game streaming, however, and something that Blade, the company behind the service called Shadow and the new box called Shadow Ghost, will have to figure out with its new streaming box. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it has completely figured out game streaming to make it convenient for everyone, but in a budding field like this, there are bound to be some hiccups.
Review roundup: The Shadow Ghost
So, what do you get with the Shadow Ghost? You get a cool looking box that features an HDMI port, four USB ports (two 3.0 and two 2.0), Ethernet port, and an audio jack. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are also baked in. The Shadow Ghost unit is not necessary to take advantage of the streaming service from Blade, but if you want to stream games on a non-compatible monitor or maybe while traveling.
The box is $150 and then you have to pay another $35 a month for the service. With this, you get access to what basically amounts to a high-end computer located in Blade’s data center. According to TechCrunch, this amounts to an “Intel Xeon 2620 processor, an Nvidia Quadro P5000 GPU that performs more or less as well as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.”
While the stats of the “PC” you’re streaming from seems decent enough, only having 256GB of storage seems a bit low. With many AAA games having download sizes encroaching 100GB, this number seems like it should be higher.
How well does the service stream games?
While everything above looks good, the real question is how does the streaming service work. With gaming, you want minimal latency and a smooth graphical experience. Without those things, your games will look and play poorly. With the Shadow Ghost and the streaming service, you have the option of playing games in 4K 60Hz or 1080p 144Hz.
According to various reviews, sadly, the 4K version definitely suffered some stuttering and latency issues. According to Rock Paper Shotgun, “[while on the deskop] there was a noticeable lag when I had it set to 4K. From simple mouse movements across the screen to shunting windows around the desktop, it felt like I was in possession of an ancient Pentium PC that was struggling to even comprehend basic desktop tasks, not a server-grade Xeon.” The writer does go on to say that the issues weren’t nearly as prevalent when in games, however.
Engadget echoed those sentiments but that it extended to gaming, as well. He noted that having the Shadow Ghost hardwired in helped the issues, but even so, it didn’t eliminate them. While it is nice to see that hardwired helps the issue when streaming in 4K, one of the major selling points to game streaming is the ability to play anywhere, not just somewhere were you have access to a wired, high-speed connection.
With 1080P, the experience seems to be a bit smoother, even when playing over WiFi. VentureBeat notes that playing Apex Legends was an overall smooth experience. “Once in a while, you may notice a little bit of a glitch. I saw slow movement in only one of the dozen or so rounds that I played. I found that to be acceptable, given that I wasn’t playing on a wired broadband connection.”
So, what’s the verdict?
Overall, it seems to be a bunch of mixed experiences with the Shadow Ghost and accompanying streaming service. Honestly, I don’t find that overly surprising. With how internet connections work and how speeds seem to fluctuate, it seems to make sense that the quality of the gaming experience would fluctuate with it.
Even so, this is a promising future for people that are looking at game streaming as a way to play their games almost anywhere, without the need of a dedicated console or PC.
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