GamingGaming: Guides

Cloud Gaming vs. Gaming PC

cloud gaming vs gaming pc

Taking you a few years back, a high-end PC was the best bet to play the latest games with maxed-out graphics. However, these PCs can cost you a handsome amount and may not be feasible enough for you.

Today, Internet connections with the advancement in 5G technology and fiber-optics have have no limits. It is easy to stream games on any device you own. It can save you from any hassle revolved around building a suitable PC, and of course, a lot of upfront investment.

Paying a lot for an expensive PC is not required anymore. If you have a stable and fast enough connection, you can stream the video from the cloud.

Cloud Gaming vs. Gaming PC

Our primary focus here is to compare cloud gaming vs. gaming PC. But, instead of replacing one for the other, let us focus on each option and weigh up its unique pros and cons. In cloud gaming vs. gaming PC, many factors need to be considered before you decide which option is suitable for you.

Element of Cost: Short Term and Long Term

The element of cost is an excellent point to start the comparison. Let’s talk about Cloud gaming and its short-term cost effect. Cloud gaming allows you to gain access to a high-end PC without incurring the considerable cost of buying a new one.

If you consider the long-term costs effect for cloud gaming, it depends on the selected service. There are many cloud gaming platforms available; among them, the most popular are:

  • GeForce Now
  • Google Stadia
  • Shadow

For example, if you go for Geforce Now, which currently costs $10/month, but select their basic plan, you can enjoy the games for free. If you want to go premium on Geforce Now or use a platform like Shadow, you’ll pay a monthly subscription fee. The basic package for Shadow starts at $25 per month.

On the other hand, buying a gaming PC is a one-time fee without additional monthly payments. However, you may need to upgrade hardware over time and with the requirements of new games, so getting a cloud streaming service may be cheaper in the long run.

Compatibility of Games

When you build a new high-end gaming PC, you expect to run every game of your choosing on it. It may not run at the limits of the most outstanding graphics, but you can give it a try.

On the other hand, some cloud streaming services are not compatible with every game of your liking. Let’s again take the example of Geforce Now. It requires developers’ approval for the games to appear on the service, which means you won’t have access to every game available on it.

If your gaming library is essential to you with the latest games, go for a premium plan and be sure to pay for a service compatible with your games.

Comparison of Lag In Input

Obviously, a gaming PC will have less lag than cloud gaming when comparing input latency for multiplayer games, especially competitive games like first-person shooters.

For a gaming PC, the input is direct from the mouse and keyboard, which then goes over the Internet to the central server. On the other hand, inputs on cloud PCs have to travel from your gaming PC to the cloud system and then onto the gaming servers, a much longer process.

Unfortunately, it is simply impossible for a cloud gaming setup to not have some input lag. You could reduce it with a better internet connection, but only to a certain extent. If you are primarily a competitive gamer and multiplayer is important to you, a gaming PC is your best bet.

Updates and Repairs of the System

Owners of a gaming PC will tell you about the frequent hardware issues and the requirement to upgrade it every now and then. PCs are great when they work flawlessly, but the errors creep over time. The PC hardware gets old, and it gets tiresome to maintain it, so it looks easier to switch in this case.

But if you compare it with cloud PC, they don’t encounter the issues as mentioned earlier as often. When the problems crop up, they are a problem for the server’s host. Meanwhile, you can switch to another cloud system while the hosts fix the issues.

Playing Games Offline or With a Poor Internet Connection

To move forward in comparing cloud gaming vs. gaming PC, we can talk about playing games offline or with an average internet connection.
If you have a shaky internet connection and are playing games on a cloud computer, you will find it hard to play because of the lag. Ultimately, if you lose the connection, you cannot even play the games anymore.

Make sure that you have an internet connection that can sustain the demands of cloud gaming on a daily basis. If it cannot, it might be better for you to invest in a gaming PC and avoid the frustrating task of trying to play on the cloud with a subpar connection. A gaming PC will allow you to play offline even if your Internet connection is not stable.

Using Other Devices to Play the Game

Cloud gaming can be played on any screen because it does not need anything from the client’s system. You can play on computers, browsers, on a smart TV, and even on your phone with a compatible cloud gaming services.

That is not to suggest that physical computers are obsolete in this regard. Steam Link, for example, is a service that allows you to connect your PC to another computer. Your gaming machine does the heavy lifting, and your device acts as a screen for viewing.


We have a final note on cloud gaming vs. gaming PC to wrap things up. Suppose you are not a competitive gamer and like to play games to relax, mostly offline. In that case, the safest choice is to use a cloud gaming system.

You’ll need a decent Internet connection for cloud gaming. If you have one, you can play games on any computer at maximum settings without worrying about spending money on hardware and tools.

However, for those who want the best of the best, the gaming PC remains the number one choice. There is plenty that a physical machine can bring over a cloud-based one, from decreased input time to the ability to play any game you want. Choose smartly!

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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