Well, I think it is finally time to come out and say what I have been thinking about for quite some time...
That is my departure from the cloud gaming platform, Shadow.
For those who follow Luro.io, you would know that my love for cloud gaming started with Shadow, and until the end of this month, it has been with Shadow.
I guess I should get right into it and tell you why I am leaving the service.
Shadow and its current situation
Back in March, Shadow announced that they were filing for bankruptcy. Too many, this was a shock. To some, this was inevitable.
You see, Shadow's business structure and pricing, although fantastic for the consumer, was devastating to the business. In short, Shadow was not profitable, and thus, they could not pay their debts and ended up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and started looking for a new owner that could help revive the company.
At first, this did not worry me until someone got around to translating the documents from the French Court for this case.
How it currently looks
According to the translated documents, it looks like there are currently two companies that are bidding for Shadow. Scaleway, a hosting provider in France, and hubiC, a cloud storage provider in France.
The Scaleway bid is the better of the two evils, especially since Scaleway's plan merged with KLABS. If you did not check out the translated documents, KLABS is a group of six shadow employees currently lead by Jean-Baptiste Kempf (current CTO of Shadow).
The Scaleway plan appears to keep Shadow as a consumer-facing cloud gaming service, but the hardware and pricing will change. Shadow Boost will stay with the current hardware, with a bump up in price, and the Shadow Ultra and Infinite tiers will get removed and replaced with the Phenix and Phenix+ tiers.
Currently, Shadow splits up the CPU between multiple VM's and gives a dedicated GPU to each user. The proposed Phenix tiers will split up the CPU even more and split up the GPU for those with the Phenix tier. The Phenix+ tier appears to have a dedicated GPU still.
This change is to help utilize more virtual machines for each piece of hardware but will most certainly affect the overall performance that one would have while using their Shadow, dependent on the type of hardware they plan on using.
It is also likely that the cost of these new tiers will be significantly higher than that of the current Shadow Ultra and Infinite offerings.
The Scaleway plan does mention hardware updates happening every 24 months starting in August of 2022 and some mentions of Business-to-business offerings.
For hubiC's plan... it doesn't look suitable for Shadow as a consumer-facing cloud gaming service. It seems more like they want to purchase Shadow and use their hardware for their own benefits while still "offering" a type of cloud gaming service.
They will offer a service similar to Stadia or GeForce Now, where you will only be able to play a single game at a time. A "Desktop" style streaming service is mentioned, but it would be focused on business-to-business, likely meaning that the price would skyrocket.
hubiC will essentially evaporate Shadow as we know it and change it to something else.
Of course, I want Shadow to succeed, so I am hoping the Scaleway offer wins. However, even with Scaleway winning, the possibility that Shadow continues to be a low-cost alternative to buying your own computer is becoming rather slim.
We will likely see the prices reaching a point where it may be cheaper to build a computer, but the ability to use your Shadow on multiple devices would outweigh the additional cost of the service.
Now, another thing to mention is that these offers are for the French branch of the company. Both Scaleway and hubiC mention that they have put in bids for the US branch as well. There is a possibility that the US branch of Shadow would end up with a different owner, and thus, different plans.
Why I decided to leave
Shadow's future is a little sketchy, and I am not a huge fan of that. Currently, I am a Shadow Infinite subscriber, paying $40 a month for the service. With their future up in the air, I have decided to make the jump and start investing in a plan to purchase a new gaming computer.
What does this mean for me? I will be leaving Shadow at the end of the month, cutting me out from a powerful gaming rig for quite some time.
What does this mean for Luro.io? Nothing. I will continue to report news on Shadow and every other Cloud Gaming service per usual. This jump will help Luro.io in the end, as when I get a better local rig, I will have the ability to record and produce better quality gameplay videos of current Cloud Gaming platforms.
Will I rejoin Shadow?
That is dependent on what happens to shadow in the future. If Shadow's pricing and performance take significant hits to become more profitable, then Shadow as a viable cloud gaming service may not be possible.
If this is the case, I will not be rejoining Shadow, at least not for personal reasons.
Suppose Shadow can continue to be a consumer-focused cloud gaming service without being overly expensive. In that case, I will re-subscribe in the future to provide benchmarks, reviews, and updates to all of you!
For the time being, I will be taking my leave from Shadow, and focusing more on other Cloud Gaming platforms.
It was a fun ride! Shadow allowed me to get back into gaming. It grew my love for cloud gaming, and it birthed what became Luro.io. So, I can't thank them enough for being a fantastic cloud gaming platform!
But, all good runs come to an end, and it is time for me to move on :).
Thank you all for reading, and until next time :).