First Look at Simplay Cloud Gaming

Simplay is a Cloud Gaming company that’s getting a lot of attention for it’s affordable unlimited service. They offer unlimited hours of Cloud Gaming starting at $19.99 $26.99 per month. With native support for Parsec, Simplay is poised to disrupt the Cloud Gaming market.

The Setup

Using Simplay is very similar to using Paperspace or LiquidSky. You gain access to a complete Windows Desktop after launching the Simplay App. From there you can install virtually any Windows Game or Software. They are powered by Windows Server 2016, which means that it is very close to a Windows 10 experience. It is important to note that Windows Server 2016 does not include the Windows Store or Xbox Apps. There is no support for Windows Store games like Sea of Thieves or Forza.

Simplay’s servers are powered by Nvidia’s P40 Grid GPU and Intel’s Xeon E5-2678 CPU’s. Both of these pieces of hardware are powerful and can handle Cloud Gaming.


Simplay has it’s own proprietary streaming engine called “Photon”. When you launch their App, you are launching Photon. Their App serves a dual-purpose. You can use it to setup your Game Collection, and you can use it to stream your games when you’re done.

The Simplay streaming Desktop includes an overlay that can be used to customize your streaming experience. It also provides valuable feedback about your connection and network conditions.

Support for Parsec

Simplay and Parsec recently announced a partnership on their blogs. While Simplay does include it’s own streaming engine by default, they acknowledge that it still needs some work. It’s not quite as developed as Parsec is at this time. They hope that over time users will want to use their Photon engine as it progresses and gets better.

For now they’ve enabled Parsec support. Simplay does not include Parsec by default, but they don’t prevent you from downloading it and using it. Parsec has also been flagged in the system as an approved streaming engine. This prevents the normal 30 minute timeout that occurs after the Simplay App is closed. So if you choose to close the Simplay App and then connect through Parsec, you are welcome to game for as much time as you want.

How does it Perform?

Before we dive into the experience, it’s important to note that Simplay is only officially supported in Europe. All of their servers are located in European countries. Flickstiq is located on the East Coast of the United States. We were recently invited to try the service anyway. Cloud Gaming is greatly impacted by your distance from the nearest Data Center. Being an ocean away from the server creates a substantial amount of latency and diminishes the experience a bit. This article is meant to be a “first-look” at Simplay, and not a Review. We won’t officially review their services until they expand to the United States.

UPDATE: SIMPLAY CONFIRMED ON YOUTUBE THAT THEY HOPE TO EXPAND TO THE UNITED STATES DURING THE 2ND HALF OF 2018.

 

With that said, Simplay was playable for us even with the distance that we were dealing with. We had to stream at 720p to make it playable, but it was indeed playable. Their hardware easily ran Warhammer Vermintide 2 on Ultra Settings.

The Simplay server itself takes about 5 minutes to boot up (similar to LiquidSky). They have an impressive internet connection, and games tend to download at around 100 MBps. We were unable to test the Photon engine due to the latency that was introduced by our distance from the server. It was possible to connect and play through Parsec. We achieved 720p 60 fps, even with the conditions that we needed to overcome.

Should you try it now?

If you live in a Supported European region, we would highly encourage you to try Simplay. Our experience leads us to believe that it would perform very well if you live close to one of their data centers. Their technology appears to be very solid, and their pricing is extremely competitive.

If you live in an unsupported region, then you are taking a risk if you subscribe to Simplay right now. There is a chance that you could have the same experience that we did. However, there is no guarantee that you will. One concern is that the experience may not be great, and it could turn you off to their product. We encourage you not to judge Simplay if you connect from an unsupported region. Try them again when they expand to your territory. Distance absolutely matters, and it can have a significant impact on your experience.

Let us know what you think! Have you tried Simplay? What was your experience? Have you tried it in an unsupported region? Let us know what you think in the comments.


Also published on Medium.

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