Streaming services like Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud are promising to end the era of console games and discs. But with a limited selection of games and slow adoption, these services have challenges to overcome before they can successfully take on gaming giants.

There are gamers who swear by the benefits of playing in front of a keyboard and mouse on a custom-built PC, while others prefer the convenience and ubiquity of consoles like the Xbox and Playstation. Those console brands, in particular, have become powerhouses in the world of at-home gaming.

Microsoft sold 30 million units of the Xbox One console between its release in November 2013 and the end of 2017, according to IHS Markit. Sony sold 73 million PlayStation 4 consoles that same time period.

But there’s a new player in the game: streaming video game platforms. You could play from anywhere, on any device, any time. And you don’t need to worry about your hardware becoming obsolete.

Google’s Stadia, Microsoft’s Project xCloud, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now make it easy to play top-tier games without a console or PC. The subscription-based services stream video games from high-end gaming machines through the cloud.

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