We take a round-up of the most exciting gaming platforms doing the rounds in 2021. There’s something for everyone here as we cover everything from retro gaming, to casino classics and Triple A gaming thrills.
1. Plex Arcade
Plex, a popular streaming service, has teamed up with retro gaming legends Atari to bring its subscribers Plex Arcade, the Netflix of retro gaming. The platform is home to all your favorite Atari classics like Missile Command, available at your fingertips, for just $2.99 a month. What’s more Plex Arcade works as an emulator, which lets you load up your own classic game ROMs and experience them on the big screen like never before. Simply connect a Bluetooth compatible game-pad and dive in.
Established gaming platform PokerStars, offers different versions and features of the popular game of poker. The platform allows the users to access comprehensive leader-boards and player’s statistics across a range of play styles and hosts over one thousand active tournaments at any one time. This makes finding and joining a match hassle free, whether you’re seeking to play Omaha or Texas Hold’Em. PokerStars can be accessed via their client that runs on both Windows and Macintosh computers or through the iOS and Android optimized mobile app.
3. NVidia GeForce Now
This platform is one of a new breed of cloud gaming platforms. These services utilize server-side computers to deliver players top level gaming experiences at a fraction of the cost or effort. With prices for the latest gaming consoles such as the PlayStation 5 hovering at around $500, these alternative services are a tantalizing alternative. Due to the fact they stream the game-footage to you, the end-user is not limited by the performance of their own devices. This means you can play Triple A games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassins Creed: Valhalla on an old computer, or even your mobile phone for a small subscription fee.
Roblox is an online gaming service and community like no other. This is because its 150 million users are responsible for designing as well as playing Roblox’s massive library of 40 million games. By giving its users a simplified programming toolkit to work with, Roblox encourages creativity and community participation which ensures every gaming session is different and exciting. Jump in today and get involved with platformers, shooters, races and simulators and see why everyone is talking about this innovative platform.
5. Google Stadia
This is Google’s own entry into the new cloud gaming category. It offers similar functionality to rivals like GeForce Now and Shadow by Blade, but with the added advantage of having Google’s ecosystem and algorithms backing it. We can expect to see Stadia become an esports mainstay soon, following the launch of Stadia’s YouTube streaming integration. This additional functionality takes aim at Twitch.tv’s dominance in the space and could become a popular alternative. Like other game streaming platforms, Stadia can be played from within a browser or on your mobile device. Additionally though Google does offer a Premier edition that bundles in the platform’s first-party controller as well as a chrome-cast to enable any TV to become a gaming powerhouse.
7. Facebook Instant Games
Instant Games is the name of Facebook’s on-site and in-app gaming service. It features many popular and classic games ranging from mobile favorites like Candy Crush, to traditional mainstays like Scrabble. What makes Instant Games uniquely appealing is due to its ability to leverage the social integration of its 2.8 billion strong user base. This lets you challenge anyone on your friend-list, often right from within Facebook messenger. As well as this you can participate in global leaderboards and share your victories to your newsfeed for maximum kudos.
8. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is essentially the successor service to Xbox Live Gold, the premium online multiplayer service for the Xbox consoles. Though Xbox Game Pass Ultimate continues to build on providing high quality online play to Xbox gamers, it goes much further than its predecessor by adding in cross-platform play and cloud gaming functionality. Over 100 games can now be played through it on Xbox consoles, Windows PCs and Android devices, opening up the ability to play your library of Xbox games right from a web-browser or on your mobile device.
Steam is a gaming community, web-store and desktop client closely associated with Windows computers, but also available on Linux and MacOS. The brainchild of Valve, the developers behind the wildly successful and influential Half-Life games, Steam has acted as a focal-point for the PC gaming community since its launch all the way back in 2003. It now boasts over 34,000 titles and has a reputation for platforming innovative and community-supported Indie and art-house games.
As of 2021, 75% of all PC game sales take place through Steam’s web-store and it has become a trusted source for review aggregation around the latest titles. Steam is more than just a glorified shopping experience though, as you can access your library remotely from any computer, with all your previous purchases, add-ons and demos safely stored in the cloud.
10. Apple Arcade
Apple’s first decisive foray into gaming services comes through their new Apple Arcade game subscription platform. It offers access to over 180 premium titles including the best gaming experiences the App Store has to showcase. The service can be accessed across all Apple devices from iPhone to MacOS and even Apple TV. While it’s early days for the platform, we can expect to see new and innovative first party titles come to Apple Arcade as Apple continues to invest and build up in this promising marketplace.