Logitech is the latest gaming competitor in the handheld and streaming markets. To contend with the likes of the Steam Deck, Nintendo Switch, Stadia, and Luna (as well as your phone), it has entered the Logitech G Cloud as its first offering.
You can read our announcement post on the G Cloud for a detailed breakdown of what’s involved, but as we noted, it’s pushing credibility at $350 (You can currently pre-order it for $300, but it’s unclear how long this sale will last). So will it be the next big thing, or will it disappear into obscurity?
Why does it exist?
The last few years have seen rapid advancements in handheld and streaming technology. On the handheld side, you have the Nintendo Switch (now greying slightly as it closes up on its sixth birthday) and the Steam Deck (a newer entrant in the handheld wars). On the streaming side, tech giants like Google and Amazon are throwing vast amounts of money into their slightly iffy products.
Neither of these markets are showing signs of slowing down either, the Steam Deck has demonstrated just how powerful a handheld device can be, and Nvidia’s streaming service GeForce Now offers reliable 1440p streaming at 120FPS.
Thus we have the Logitech G Cloud. A $350 device with a 1080p 60hz screen, a brand new Snapdragon 720G gaming chip, a headphone jack (!), and support for the Play Store, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Steam Link, and Nvidia GeForce Now. It’s an interesting concept, especially as it’s going to have its hands full competing with two markets at once. That being said, there’s a chance it can carve out its niche in the already packed world of gaming hardware.
Who is it for?
At $350, this isn’t a casual buy. That’s $50 less than the Steam Deck and the same price as the IPS Nintendo Switch model. However, thanks to Logitech’s streaming partnerships, the G Cloud can play pretty much any game offered by these platforms (with the obvious exception of Nintendo’s exclusives).
In fact, the only serious hardware competition comes from people who own phones, which is…everyone. Rather than splashing out $350, you could instead buy one of the best Android controllers for as low as $50. Install the Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, and Steam Link apps, and there you go, you’ve got a device that can do everything the G Cloud can do at a fraction of the price (if you already own your phone).
Of course, this isn’t how Logitech markets its new toy. Maybe you aren’t rocking one of the best Android phones and just want a dedicated handheld device that can play most games without fuss.
How does it compete with existing platforms?
As discussed above, Logitech’s entrance into the handheld market puts it into direct competition with Valve and Nintendo. However, as a dedicated streaming device, the G Cloud is a distinct alternative.
One of the biggest advantages of handheld devices is that you can whip them out anywhere in the world for a gaming session. But you’re at the mercy of spotty Wi-Fi signals when it comes to streaming. While most public transport services offer Wi-Fi services, will you trust your airline’s overpriced Wi-Fi to not conk out at a critical moment? Neither the Steam Deck nor the Nintendo Switch suffer from these issues since they can play games locally.
But what about streaming at home? Google and Amazon have been steadily trucking along with their respective platforms, despite evidence that Google is struggling to hit it’s yearly goal for game releases. Stadia and Luna are easily access on the G Cloud since it is an Android device, but it’s not like there’s any need to buy hardware for either of these streaming platforms, you can play them without any further investment on multiple devices already.
So what makes the G Cloud stand apart?
The G Cloud’s main selling point seems to be its accessibility. While you’ll have to purchase multiple subscriptions to make the most of it, the knowledge that you can sit down and play anything from Halo Infinite to the best Android games in seconds is a definite plus.
While it doesn’t have the oomph provided by the Steam Deck, or the full flexibility of streaming services since a hardware cost is involved, the G Cloud has everything you need to play console-quality games in seconds, which is an interesting concept.
The hardware cost is a drawback, especially considering it’s not doing the heavy lifting for streamed games, but for some people, it might be the best option out there, especially for those into console emulators.
Should you buy a G Cloud?
The G Cloud offers distinct advantages over other handheld or streaming platforms as a dedicated device that can play both local and streamed games. However, it’s hard to say precisely what makes this a better alternative than just snapping a controller onto your phone, outside of needing to own a purpose-built device for streaming/emulators.
We’ll have to see how it fares when it launches in October, though there’s no doubt the price will be an impedance for more than a few gamers.