We reviewed Vortex at the beginning of 2018, and it’s time to see if anything has changed. Have they improved their Computer Clients? Is the Android App still pretty good, or has it gotten worse?
When we first took a look at them, we were unimpressed by their Computer Clients. Vortex has a dedicated Windows 10 App and can also be played in a Chrome Browser. When we tested them at the beginning of the year, we found both Computer experiences to be lacking. In general there was quite a bit of lag and dropped frames. If we were to summarize our first impressions of Vortex on the Computer in one word, it would be unreliable.
The Android side felt very different. It was playable and was a decent experience. We were able to maintain 40-60 fps with few hiccups.
They offers a great potential value to Gamers. They only charge $10 per month for 100 hours of Gaming. That makes them one of the absolute cheapest options available.
So have things changed since we tested them a few months ago?
Cloud Gaming services tend to change and update quite frequently. Although a few months may not seem long in many situations, it can be quite significant when it comes to Cloud Gaming.
We started by testing Vortex again on the PC. The Windows 10 App actually felt like it took a step back. We tried over the span of a few days to get Games to launch. We were unsuccessful.
The issue that we kept running into is that most Steam Games would require us to log into Steam after attempting to launch a title (even though we were already logged into Steam through the App’s settings). The Steam login window was often stuck behind a Vortex loading window, so we weren’t able to actually authenticate and get into the game. That was one issue.
During a few attempts we were able to log into Steam, but Battle-eye would cause the game to crash while loading. Battle-eye is a popular anti-cheat technology that is widely used by modern PC Games. Vortex seems to struggle to load Games that utilize Battle-eye.
Playing through Chrome was less buggy, but still had some issues. We didn’t have any trouble getting Games to launch, but experienced quite a bit of input latency and framerate issues. In some Games, these problems were just challenging. In others (like Rust) they were game-breaking.
When we wrote our first review, we didn’t really have to wait to play Games on Vortex. This unfortunately has changed. We weren’t able to get into any Game right away (and we tested at different times over the course of several days). When Vortex is under a heavy user-load, they use a queue system to keep their network under control. For Gamers this means that you’ll have to wait for a server to become available.
On average we had to wait 10-30 minutes to get into each Game. We had to wait close to an hour on a few occasions. This tells us that Vortex needs to expand their network to accommodate their audience. So this is one problem that can be corrected, but it is a thing right now.
One other detail that is worth noting is that Vortex is responsible for updating their non-Steam Games on your behalf. That means that if you’re trying to play a non-Steam Game (like Fortnite) that recently received an update from it’s developer, then you may not be able to play. You’ll have to wait for Vortex to update the version of the Game on their servers. Recently it’s taken them around 48 hours to update Games like Fortnite. So Gamers could experience a few days of downtime while waiting for Vortex to update their favorite title.
How about Android?
When we tested Vortex a few months ago, the Android App was a pleasant surprise. It ran smoothly and provided a very playable experience. So has that changed over the last few months?
We created a video that explores the Android version of Vortex. This video is available to our Patreon Supporters and is live right now. You’ll see us test Fortnite on a Nexus 7 Tablet using a Xbox One Controller. So if you’re considering trying Vortex on Android, then you may want to check it out. It’s available to all Patreon Supporters on our Patreon Page.
The Bottom Line
So would we recommend Vortex to Computer users? Right now the Windows 10 App is too buggy to recommend for anything. The Chrome version of Vortex could be fine if you’re playing Games that don’t require fast reflexes (like shooter titles). If you’re thinking about playing a strategy or card Game, then Vortex would probably be fine. We wouldn’t recommend playing it through a Computer for fast-action content.
Vortex still offers one of the cheapest subscription options for Cloud Gamers. The monetary value is still very good. If you’re thinking about trying Vortex, you can support Flickstiq by signing up through our Referral Link.
Also published on Medium.
Josh is a long-time Gamer and Technology Guru. He is known for his writing and troubleshooting skills. Josh can solve just about any problem, and is especially good at getting to the bottom of technology challenges. He has a background in Networking and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree. When he’s not gaming, Josh can be found blogging, testing new tech, and interacting with Flickstiq’s social media following. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.