Cloud gaming is the next revolution that has arrived too soon and too unbaked. But that does not mean that the future for gaming on the cloud is faded. In fact, the chances of the “clouds” clearing away are decreasing with Google’s continuation of Stadia and other companies offering cloud gaming. Vortex gaming is one such independent service that is en route to bring a gaming revolution. But are they any good? Here’s what I found out.
What is Vortex cloud gaming?
Just like Google Stadia or NVIDIA’s GeForce Now, Vortex is a cloud gaming service. This means that Vortex offers virtual machines to run the games you want to play. All you need to do is have the game (and your game is in their library), a subscription to their services, and a really good internet connection.
Using their machines, you can run triple-A games along with other independent in your own computer, laptop, Macbook, iMac, even your smartphones, both Android and iOS! So you can play GTA V or The Witcher 3 on your Samsung or Macbook Air. Sounds too good to be true? Hold on, there are glaring issues.
Vortex gaming plans and pricing
There are three tiers with three different pricing that you can choose from. And this is where problems start mounting up. The three plans are; Basic, Pro, and Ultra. The Basic plan will cost you $9.99 per month, Pro will cost $19.99 per month, and the most expensive plan, Ultra will drop a $29.99 per month bomb on your wallet.
Let’s say you choose to use their services for a year, then the yearly prices will cost you from $120 USD to $360 USD. These prices are way cheaper than the cost of a powerful PC to run some games offered by Vortex. While the prices are cheap and feasible, some bigger issues render the price benefits useless. I’ll get to the negatives after listing the games offered on Vortex.
Vortex plans offer 73 games in the Basic plan and 167 games in the Pro and Ultra plan. There are many games that can be played with just the subscription while other, more fun games need a license. “More fun games” here refers to more popular games that I would play rather than the free, indie games. But everyone’s different. That’s why here’s the list of all the games offered in Vortex that I would play;
- GTA V
- Ark Survival
- Dead by Daylight
- Monster Hunter
- Rainbow Six Siege
- Apex Legends
- Sims 4
- Borderlands Pre-Sequel
- Fall Guys
- Rocket League
- The Witcher
- Resident Evil 2
- Fallout 76 (if you want to play it)
- Crash Bandicoot
- Far Cry 5
- Among Us
- Borderlands 2
If you already own any of these games, then you can use your own license. But if your owned game is not on Vortex’s servers, then there’s no way to play them unless Vortex adds them later, which is probable. Now that we are done with everything essential, let’s get to the part where I rant about the things that I don’t like. And trust me, these are some reasons that might make you want to back off from cloud gaming, at least from Vortex.
Issues with Vortex gaming
If I were to summarize all the issues with Vortex gaming in one sentence it would be this; Paying a lot, getting a lot less. And restrictions. The problems start with the tiers and what they offer.
The first red flag is the resolution. Get this; All the plans, including the top Ultra plan for $29.99 are restricted to HD streaming, not even 1080p. You read it right. Pay 30 bucks a month and you’ll get a resolution that was relevant in 2014. Vortex says that full HD is coming soon to their Pro and Ultra plan, but it isn’t here at the time of writing.
And let’s say you get 1080p for the Ultra tier, a 4K option for their best plan would have been much more sensible, considering that Google Stadia offers 1080p cloud gaming for free!
Trying the games on Samsung Note 20 Pro, which has a 2K screen, the low-res is very visible and very distracting. The games look very…ugly and unrendered. It is just not a great experience. Add the lags, stutters, and watered-down graphics, I personally won’t pay $10 a month to play the games like that.
The second biggest issue with this cloud gaming service is the restricted gameplay time. The Basic plan gives you 50 hours of gameplay hours per month which means just a bit over an hour a day. Now $10 bucks a month isn’t a lot and I would have accepted this as normal if Vortex was the only cloud gaming service. But there’s Xbox Cloud, PS Now, Stadia, GeForce Now, all offering much better playtime than Vortex.
Pro plan gives you 80 hours per month and Ultra gives 140 hours. This means more than 2 hours and 30 minutes per day for Pro and more than 4 hours and 30 minutes per day in the Ultimate plan. It all sounds great, but wait till you hear this; GeForce Now gives you 6 hours of game playtime a day for just $5 a month.
The unused hours do not carry to the next month, this means that if you have 40-50 hours left for the month, next month starts a new cycle, losing all those hours.
Vortex Cloud Gaming Plans
|Play Time||50 hours/mo||80 hours/mo||140 Hrs/mo|
|Resolution||HD||FHD soon||FHD soon|
In case you want to try the cloud gaming service of Vortex and see if you like it, do remember to keep in mind the refund policies. Don’t worry, I have read their terms and here’s something interesting that I found.
Vortex offers a refund within a tw0-week period of the purchase. But there’s more. You’ll only get a refund within two weeks of purchase AND only 15 minutes of gameplay time. So if you played any game using their servers for more than 15 minutes, you are not eligible for getting a refund.
In summary, I understand that Vortex is a new company and does not have a massive budget of companies like Google to offer free 1080p cloud gaming. I like the gameplay experience. It wasn’t phenomenal but let’s face it, no other cloud gaming service is. What I don’t like is there is so little that is being offered.
You need to buy games to play here (for the games listed above). Only HD gaming, limited gameplay time, etc are some issues that I think are stopping Vortex from truly becoming a great cloud gaming service. If they manage to offer;
- Full HD and 4K game streaming
- At least 2 hours of gameplay time per day for the basic plan
- More games to offer
- And a discounted yearly price
Then Vortex is bound to become one of the most revolutionary and impactful cloud gaming services in this budding and evolving phase of gaming on the cloud. You can visit their website here and see the plans and offers for yourself. This concludes the article.
Looking for more information about cloud gaming services? Here are some more articles that you should read about cloud gaming;
Cloud gaming services to choose from; A Comprehensive list