Cloud Gaming is a rather cool technology that opens up many possibilities for gamers to get into gaming without the need to spend a decent amount of money on a new console or a new gaming computer.
Cloud Gaming platforms can be played on pretty much any device. From your six-year-old laptop to your smartphone, you can get your hands dirty in the Cloud Gaming scene.
Even though Cloud Gaming may work on multiple devices, what Operating System will give you the best Cloud Gaming experience? Windows? macOS? Linux? Android or iOS?
Here is my opinion on what the best operating systems for Cloud Gaming are.
6 - iOS
So, at the bottom of the list, we have iOS. The operating system that runs Apple's smartphones is probably one of the worst operating systems for Cloud Gaming.
Why? Because of the App Store.
Apple's App Store policy requires that all apps on the store are required to give a decent portion of in-app purchases to Apple.
They have a policy that affects apps offering a library of games from other publishers; however, Apple does not get a cut of the sales because the games were purchased on another platform, and accessed on the app. Thus, they are not allowed in the Apple App Store
Although it appears you can download the Google Stadia app on iOS, you can not get GeForce Now on iOS. The Shadow app also had to be limited to be accepted on the Apple App Store.
These reasons put iOS at the bottom of the list.
5 - Chrome OS
Chrome OS, the operating system that runs Chromebooks, is not the best for Cloud Gaming. Not only are a good chunk of Chromebooks underpowered for Cloud Gaming, but most Cloud Gaming platforms do not have a working application for Chrome OS.
Google Stadia can be played on Chrome OS. Unfortunately, Shadow and GeForce Now can not be, unless you modify your OS to allow for android apps to be installed, and install the app of Shadow and GeForce Now.
These limitations on compatibility put Chrome OS in fifth place.
4 - Android
In fourth place, we have Android. Android itself is not bad for Cloud Gaming; however, it lacks some functions that would put it ahead of any desktop-based operating systems.
You can access all Cloud Gaming platforms with Android, with all of the available features. However, Android lacks decent mouse/keyboard support which is especially important for platforms like Shadow.
Android does also have the ability to play Microsoft's Project xCloud, which is currently in preview for Android devices only.
Between iOS and Android, I prefer Android as it offers the ability to play all Cloud Gaming platforms.
3 - Mac OS
MacOS takes the third spot. macOS, in general, is a great operating system. Built for creators and professionals, it offers users the ability to navigate the platform with ease and little to no issues.
So, why is it third?
This is because Apple Desktops/Laptops cost more than their Windows counterparts.
For the most part, those who are getting into Cloud Gaming can not afford a gaming PC or do not want to spend the money on a gaming pc. Mac's cost just as much as an average gaming PC, if not significantly more.
You can access all the Cloud Gaming platforms on macOS, so if you have a Mac, or you enjoy using macOS, you will have no issues Cloud Gaming.
2 - Linux
In second place, we have Linux. Now Linux by itself is not technically an operating system, so I will be focusing more on the Debian-based distribution, Ubuntu. Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions and is one of the most user-friendly distributions.
Now, starting off, you are currently unable to use GeForce Now on Linux at the time of this post. You can use Google Stadia and Shadow on Linux-based operating systems.
Although not ideal, you can use Shadow on Linux to give you the ability to use GeForce Now, but that is only a workaround, and I do not recommend doing that.
The reason why Linux is in 2nd place is that it is an open-source operating system, meaning that it is free.
If you are looking to build a mini-pc, or even purchase a mini-pc that does not come with an operating system, you can install Ubuntu, Pop!_OS, CentOS, or any other Linux distribution for free.
The best part about this is that there are communities of people on Linux that are finding ways to better gaming on Linux, and thus Cloud Gaming is a part of those communities as well. If you are having trouble getting a platform to work on Linux, more than certain, there is a guide online that you can use to fix the issue or a community you can join and ask for help.
1 - Windows
Windows is in first place because it is the most widely used operating system. This means that there is more than likely an application that will run on Windows from any Cloud Gaming platform. This is already true for GeForce Now, Google Stadia, and Shadow.
It is also the most widely offered operating system on computers that you can purchase today. If you head over to your local Best Buy or Walmart, most machines you can buy will be running Windows.
The compatibility and considerable amount of support from developers for this operating system puts it in first place. However, do note that since Windows is the most widely used operating system, it is prone to a lot of malicious software and security risks.
If you have made it this far down in the post, thank you for reading! This is my opinion of the best operating systems for Cloud Gaming. If GeForce Now was able to run on Linux, it would have been a tough choice between Windows and Linux for first place.
I would love to hear what you think the best operating system is for Cloud Gaming. Feel free to comment below!