French startup Blade, the company behind Shadow, is about to expand its cloud gaming service to the U.S. Customers who live in California can pre-order starting today, and they’ll be able to access the service on February 15th. The rest of the U.S. will be able to subscribe later this summer.
Shadow is currently live in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg. For a flat monthly fee, you can rent a gaming PC in a data center near you. You can then access this beefy computer using desktop and mobile apps as well as the company’s own little box. It’s a full-fledged Windows 10 instance — you can install Steam, Battle.net or whatever you want.
Behind the scene, each user gets a high-end dedicated Nvidia GPU. The company is currently using a mix of GeForce GTX 1080 and Quadro P5000. Shadow also gives you 8 threads on an Intel Xeon 2620 processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Overall, it represents 8.2 teraflops of computing power — as a comparison, Microsoft promises 6 teraflops with the Xbox One X.
In Europe, the service currently costs $54 per month, or $42 per month with a three-month commitment, or $36 if you’re willing to pay for a year (€44.95/€34.95/€29.95). American customers will pay more or less the same thing for the cheapest tier — $34.95 per month for a one-year commitment.
The two other tiers are a bit cheaper in the U.S. — $39.95/month for a three-month commitment and $49.95/month with no commitment. It’s also worth noting that the company bills you every month even if you choose a yearly subscription.
While pre-orders are open to everyone in California, there’s only a limited quantity of Shadow instances available in the company’s Californian data center.
And this is key to understanding Shadow’s rollout. You need at least 15Mbps of bandwidth and you need to be near the data center. It would take too long to register an action if you lived thousands of miles away from the data center.
Blade recently signed a partnership with Equinix to roll out its servers in more data centers around the world. But it takes time to build and install servers. It’s not as easy as releasing an app in the App Store. But you can expect more expansion news in the coming months.