Latency. One of the most important computer terms when it comes to gaming. Latency can affect that clutch healing moment during an extremely tough raid in your favorite MMO, that sweet headshot to win a match for your team in your favorite FPS, or any other moment in your favorite game that requires precise timing.
High latency is a bummer, and it can affect your gaming performance and experience. This is especially true for Shadow, as it is a Cloud Gaming PC. Cloud Gaming platforms add an extra layer of latency additions when it comes to gaming.
When you are gaming on your home PC. There is latency from your keyboard, mouse, and/or controller inputs to your monitor. That is why gaming montors and gaming peripherals always sport "LOW LATENCY!". For professional gamers, a 1ms gaming monitor is leagues better then a basic monitor with 5ms latency. Same with peripherals. A basic wireless mouse will have significantly more latency then that of a gaming version of said device.
When you game on a cloud gaming platform, you add an extra layer of latency, so your keyboard, mouse, and/or controller inputs have to go to your cloud device, then to your monitor. This is highly dependent on your ISP and networking equipment. Here are some tips and tricks to making sure your latency is as low as possible when using Shadow, or any cloud gaming platform.
Tip #1 - Use Low Response Time Monitors
Probably one of the go-tos when it comes to lowering latency and input lag while gaming. Your average monitor usually has a 4ms, 5ms, or 6ms response time. Getting a monitor with a 1ms response time will allow for lower input lag, although only by a few milliseconds.
Most gaming monitors with a VA or TN screen panel will have a 1ms response time. IPS monitors will usually have 4ms or 5ms response time, however, there are a few 1ms IPS monitors out in the wild that you can pick up.
If you truly want the competative advantage, shoot for the monitor with a 1ms response time.
In my opinion, unless you are a competitive First person shooter, MOBA, or Fighting game player, you can probably make due with a 4ms response time monitor.
Tip #2 - Upgrading or replacing network equipment
This can be one of the largest causes for latency issues with your Shadow. If you have a bad network cable, bad modem, bad router, or even a bad WiFi chip on your PC, your latency can suffer. If you notice a large amount of latency, take a look at your equipment, and start troubleshooting.
If you use a direct connection to your router via a network cable, try replacing your network cable. If that doesn't fix the issue, take a look at your router. Sometimes a restart or a factory reset can fix most issues. If that doesn't fix the issue, give your modem a reboot as well and see.
If you are still having issues, you can try replacing the router and modem. Try the modem first since it is the cheaper of the two (usually). If new equipment doesn't fix your issue, it may be your ISP having issues, and at that point, you may have to call the ISP and see if there is anything they can do.
If you use WiFi to connect to your shadow, head out and pick up a 5GHz USB wifi adapter and see if that fixes your issues. You may have a bad WiFi chip in your PC, or your current WiFi adapter is failing.
Your equipment may also not be up to par for the internet speeds you are receiving. Shadow can use a lot of bandwidth, and your equipment may be a bottleneck. Making sure your modem, and especially your router can handle the bandwidth being used in your household is important to keeping latency down.
I will be writing up a post on recommended network gear for Shadow/Cloud Gaming, and I will replace this section with the link once it is posted
Tip #3 - Direct connected vs WiFi
With WiFi becoming better and better each your, and more convenient, it has become a dominant force in many households. But, did you know, that WiFi can cause latency issues? So many things can disrupt your WiFi connection. From electronic devices to the walls in between your device and the router.
If you are having some latency issue or packet loss with Shadow, try directly connecting to the router if possible. If you can not, make sure you are as close to the router as you can be. It will help!
Tip #4 - getting better internet
I know this is not possible for a lot of people, as they are limited to ISP choices in their general area, and what they offer. But, if you have slower internet speed, and have the option to upgrade it, try and shoot for at least 100 mbps download.
This will give you a significant amount of bandwidth to play with, especially if you want to run Shadow at 50-70 mbps. Do account for others in your household using the internet for things like downloading, video streaming, or even other Shadow users, as this could affect your latency as well.
Tip #5 - Using wired peripherals
Like using a network cable vs WiFi, wired devices have less latency then that of their wireless counterparts. Unless you are paying for wireless devices that are designed to have extremely low latency, wired devices will always be better.
Do your best to stray away from Bluetooth as well, as some members of the Shadow computer have complained that Bluetooth has significant input lag with controllers and such.
Use wired USB when able too. It will help a lot.
High latency and/or input lag can really negatively effect your Shadow, or any Cloud Gaming platform experience. Doing what you can to keep these down will better your cloud gaming experience, and ultimately make you happier with the product!
Do you know any other awesome tips and tricks to lower latency and/or input lag on your Shadow? Post a comment below! I look forward to them :).