How to Setup Google Cloud for Cloud Gaming

Have you been interested in testing Cloud Gaming, but didn’t want to invest before trying it? Today’s your lucky day because Google is offering $300 of free credit for new accounts. You’ll be able to sign up and enjoy a substantial amount of free Cloud Gaming. Continue reading to learn how to get started.

Setup your Account

Google is currently offering $300 of free credit to new users of Google Cloud. With an average rate of $1.50 per hour, that could be as much as 200 hours of free Cloud Gaming!

  • Visit Google Cloud’s Website and create a new Google Cloud Account. Sign into that account when you’re finished and open the Google Cloud Console.

TIP: When you first sign up for an account, you are in free-trial mode. You’ll notice that your credits are on your account, but you won’t be able to use them to setup a server with a GPU. You’ll need to upgrade the account to a normal account in order to setup a Cloud Gaming Server. It doesn’t cost anything to upgrade the account, and your free credits will still be available to you. You won’t be billed for anything until you exceed the $300 worth of credits.

  • On the next screen you’ll be prompted to create a new Project. Select this option and give your project a name. It can be anything that you want.

Create a Virtual Machine

  • From the Google Cloud Console, select Compute Engine from the left sidebar. Click on VM Instances.
  • Choose the option to create a new Instance.
  • Give your new Cloud Server a name (this can be anything that you want).
  • Use Google’s Website to research the servers that are available in your region. You’ll need to select a server that offers the Nvidia Tesla P100 Workstation GPU. It’s also important to select a location that is physically close to where you live.
  • Under Machine Type, choose your CPU and RAM from the dropdown list. For our testing we chose an 8 Core CPU with 30 GB of RAM. Next click on the option to Customize.
  • In the Customize menu, select 1 for the number of GPU’s, and then select NVIDIA Tesla P100 Virtual Workstation for the GPU Type.

NOTE: Usually the P100 is available by default for new instances. In cases where it’s not, you can request that one be added to your account.

Go to IAM & admin in the sidebar from the Cloud Console. Choose Quotas. Click on the Metric Dropdown and choose None to clear the selections. In the dropdown menu’s search type in NVIDIA. Then select the Preemptible NVIDIA P100 Virtual Worstation GPU from the list. This will provide you a list of locations that offer this GPU. Put a checkmark next to your location. At the top of the page, click on the button to Edit Quotas. Fill out your contact info, and request that they add 1 to your quota limit. In the request description explain what you’re doing.

TIP: Some users have reported receiving a “GPUS_ALL_REGIONS” exceeded error when setting up their instance. You can correct this by going to IAM & admin > Quotas > Metric. Under Metric click None to clear the selections and then search for GPU. Select GPUs (All Regions) and then choose to Edit Quotas. You’ll need to request that they add 1 to your quota if this is currently set to 0.

  • Under Boot Disk, select Windows Server 2016 Datacenter for your Operating System. Near the bottom of this menu, you can choose the amount of Hard Drive Storage for your server. Be aware that each 100 GB of Storage is roughly $17 per month. For our server we chose 120 GB.
  • At the bottom of the screen click Create to finalize your machine.

Open Ports for Parsec

  • Go back to the main Google Console page and select VPC Network from the sidebar. From this menu select Firewall Rules.
  • On the next screen, click Create Firewall Rule near the top of the page.
  • Give your Firewall Rule a name. It can be anything you want (we chose parsec).
  • In the Description field you are also welcome to write anything that you want.
  • Leave Logs, Network, Priority, Direction of Traffic, Action on Match, Targets, Source Filter, and Second Source Filter at their default values.
  • In the Target Tags field, give your rule a nickname. It’s important to make a note of this name because you’ll use it later to link the rule to your instance.
  • In the Source IP Ranges field enter 0.0.0.0/0
  • Under Protocols and Ports select Specific Protocols and Ports, and then check the UDP box. In the UDP field enter 8000-8011.
  • Click Create at the bottom of the page, and allow the rule to activate.
  • Return to the Google Cloud Console page and select Compute Engine and then VM Instances.
  • Click on the name of your Instance. At the top of the next page, choose the option to edit your Instance.
  • Near the middle of the following page, enter your Firewall tag in the Tags field (ie: If you gave your Firewall rule the nickname of parsec then enter parsec in the Tags field).
  • Save your changes at the bottom of the page.

Generate a Windows Password

  • From the VM Instances page, click the dropdown arrow next to RDP.
  • Click the option to Set Windows Password and then click Set from the popup window that opens.
  • The system will display a randomized password. Copy this Password (we also recommend that you paste it somewhere safe in case you lose it).

Connect to your Server

  • From the VM Instances page, click the RDP button. You may be prompted to install an RDP Extension for Google Chrome. Go ahead and do this if prompted.
  • You’ll be prompted to log in before starting your desktop session. Paste the Windows Password that we generated earlier.
  • Your first server bootup may take a few minutes. Give it time to complete.

Disable Windows Server Manager

  • After your server is fully booted up, you’ll be presented with a Windows Server Manager Screen. From the sidebar click on Local Server.
  • Near the right side of the page, you’ll see an option for IE Enhanced Security Configuration. It’s currently turned on. Go ahead and disable it.
  • In the top right corner of the page, you’ll see an option for Manage. Click on this and then choose Server Manager Properties.
  • A window will pop up, and you’ll want to put a check mark in the Do Not Start Server Manager Automatically At Login box.
  • At this point you’re welcome to close Windows Server Manager.

Change your Windows Password

  • Earlier we generated a random complex password for Windows. Let’s go ahead and create one that is easier to remember. Click on your Start Button and then open Settings.
  • From Settings click on Accounts.
  • On the left sidebar select Sign-In Options.
  • Near the middle of the window click the button to Change Password.
  • Paste your original Windows Password in the box and then continue.
  • Enter a new Windows Password and then confirm it (this can be anything that you want).

Install Google Chrome

  • Ironically Google Cloud is configured with Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer has the potential to meet our needs, but it struggles with a few of the files that we will need to download later. We recommend that you install Google Chrome instead.
  • Download and install Google Chrome on your server.

Enable Automatic Login

  • We want our user to automatically log into Windows when we boot up the server. As an important note, this does technically mean that your server is less secure. We don’t recommend storing anything important on the server if you choose to log in automatically.
  • Click the Search Button next to the Start button. Search for netplwiz and open it.
  • Uncheck the Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer box. Type in your Windows Password when prompted.

Setup Audio

  • Right now your server doesn’t support any audio. We’ll fix this in two steps. First click on the search button and type in Services. Open the Services App.
  • In the Services App, scroll to the bottom and double click Windows Audio.
  • In the properties window click on the dropdown and switch from Manual to Automatic. Start the service and then close the Services App.
  • The second step is to install an Audio driver. Open Google Chrome and download Virtual Audio Cable.
  • Extract the downloaded file to safe place on the computer. I recommend extracting it into a folder because there are many loose files in the archive.
  • In the extracted files, right click on VBCABLE_Setup_x64 and choose to run it as an Administrator.
  • Click Install and wait for it to complete.

Elevate your User

  • Windows Server 2016 treats certain users a bit strangely, and can make it difficult to install certain programs. We can fix this by elevating our user permissions.
  • Click on the Windows Search button and search for Powershell.
  • Open a new Powershell window and then type powershell -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted
  • After typing the command, hit the Enter key on your keyboard to activate this setting.

Install Nvidia Graphics Driver

  • Now we’re ready to install our Graphics Driver. It is extremely important to install the one that we are providing in this guide.
  • Open Google Chrome on your server and download the driver from here.
  • Install your Driver using default settings. When the install is complete, return to the Google Cloud Console.
  • Select Compute Engine and then VM Instances. Restart your server.

Enable Virtual Displays

  • Perform a search for Device Manager and open it.
  • Expand the Monitors category. You should see two virtual monitors. Right click on each monitor and uninstall it. The Monitors category should disappear.
  • Expand Display Adapters and right click on your P100 GPU. Choose to disable it. After it’s disabled, right click on it again and enable it. This process will generate two new monitors.
  • Expand the Monitors category again and right click on the first one. Select Properties. It will show that it’s either attached to the Nvidia GPU or a Microsoft Generic Adapter. Right click on the monitor that is attached to the Generic Adapter and disable it.

Install Parsec

  • Open up Google Chrome and visit the Parsec Website. Click on the option to download Parsec for Windows.
  • Open the file that you downloaded and install Parsec. When prompted, enable Controller Support.
  • Parsec will automatically open after the installation is complete. It will prompt you to log in with your Parsec account. You’ll also have an option to create a Parsec account if needed. Log into Parsec.
  • At the top of the Parsec window, choose to enable Hosting.
  • Click on the Settings Gear in the top right corner of the Parsec window and open Settings.
  • Select the Network tab and enter 8000 for the Server Start Port.
  • Click on the Hosting tab and make sure that Parsec has the correct display selected (the one attached to your Nvidia GPU).
  • Also in Hosting, you’ll have the option to increase Parsec’s bandwidth. Increasing this number will improve the quality of the stream. If you do make changes here, make sure that you don’t choose a number that exceeds your internet download speed at home.

Setup Parsec to Start Automatically

  • Right click on the Windows Start Button and choose Run.
  • In the Run window, type shell:startup
  • This command will open a startup folder. Anything that you put in the folder will launch automatically when the server turns on.
  • Click the Windows Start Button and drag the Parsec shortcut from the Start Menu and drop it on your Desktop. From there drag the Parsec shortcut and drop it in the Startup Folder.
  • Finish this process by restarting your server from the VM Instances page.

Final Thoughts

At this point all you need to do is install Parsec on your home Computer and sign into it with the same Parsec account that you used for the server. Your server should show up automatically in Parsec.


Keep in mind that you’re billed by the second. $300 worth of credit is a lot, but you will be billed if you go over. Remember to shut down your server from the Google Cloud Console when you’re done playing. This can be done through your web browser or through the Google Cloud App on your smartphone.

If you’d like to see this tutorial in action, take a look at the video below:


Also published on Medium.

Liked it? Take a second to support Josh B on Patreon!

94 Replies to “How to Setup Google Cloud for Cloud Gaming”

  1. Every time I create this or something with even less requirements it says “Exceeded ‘GPUS_ALL_REGIONS’ limit 0.0”

    Any ideas? My quota is 1

    1. That means that you need to request a quota increase for the global GPU category. In the quotas section search for GPU. You’ll see an option for GPU (global). Request that they increase this to 1.

  2. When I try to select the monitor for Parsec, it only shows the disabled monitor. Not the one with the GPU. I followed the instructions to the letter.

  3. Does google cloud charge me for the whole month or does it charge me for the hours the machine is on or when I am using it because it is showing me like 400 hundred dollars a month and also does the 17 dollars for storage included within the 300 dollars credit

    1. It charges you the hourly rate for plus your monthly storage. So you have to pay the storage every month that the server is active. And then you pay hourly on top of that.

    1. That’s right. If you delete your machine you will not continue to be billed for it. Your remaining credits will still be available for one year after your sign-up date. You can always create a new machine later and continue using your credits.

  4. i created a VM with windows 2019 server instead of 2016 server while installing the nvidia driver it said not compatable with the device …is it possible to change the server to windows 2016 for the same VM or if i delete this VM will i be able to create new VM with GPU because they provided only 1 GPU limit (global gpu) ?????

    1. You should be able to delete your instance and then setup a new one. When you delete the instance, the GPU becomes available again. So you’d only have to increase your GPU quota to 2 if you ran two instances at the same time.

  5. Thanks for the reply , got it but parsec is not recognizing the dospdis adapter in hosting tab . I selected Tesla p4 virtual workstation and followed xactly as you said …and how to install windows store in Windows server 2016 ? There is Forza horizon 4 demo in it I need to play that

    1. Does the P4 show up in the Device Manager? And the Windows Store is not supported in Windows Server 2016. The only Cloud Gaming service that works with the Windows Store is Shadow.

  6. Yes Tesla p4 is showing up in display adapter of device manager but it was not recognized by parsec …the display adapter of parsec was showing only microMicr basic render driver …..well I have a Logitech g29 racing wheel so I want to play with that like horizon 3 or 4 .(.but for free..) like trail …any suggestions ??

    1. It could be that the driver isn’t installed correctly for the P4. Might be worth trying to install it again just to be sure. However, it’s worth mentioning that Shadow seems to be an ideal fit for what you’re trying to do. In addition to supporting the Windows Store, they also support USB Passthrough to allow you to use accessories like the Racing Wheel. Sounds like they might be a better fit for your needs compared to Google Cloud.

  7. I m in India i think It ll not work in India …..also it is paid right …I just to want to try and play for few days ….I m not a freuqufr gamer ….any alternative

  8. Ok ,how to install GTA 5 on that Google cloud instance ..what are the requirements …when I installed grid it said net framework 3.5 is not installed ….how to do that remaining requirements for GTA 5?

  9. HI, when you create the VM on the google cloud what is the difference between selecting the “P100” and “P100 Virtual Workstation”. It seems like the P100 Virtual Workstation has some licensing fees associated with it that is about $150. Do they charge for that all at once, or based on hourly usage? Can we just use P100 instead of P100 Virtual Workstation? Thanks for your reply in advance.

    1. You’re on the right track. The Virtual Workstation includes a Grid GPU license. It’s required to use 1080p resolution. The cost of the license is included in the hourly rate for the GPU.

  10. Thanks! this will suffice while i wait for my shadow account to be activated.

    Couple of problems i’ve had:

    Picture is clear and crisp while idle in game but when the character is moving it’s very blurry.

    Some games I’ve tried have refuse to play in full screen mode so could only play windows.

    GTA V: refused to go above 800×600 resolution.

    1. It sounds like you may have used the non-Virtual Workstation version of the GPU that you set up. The non-Virtual Workstation doesn’t come with the necessary GRID license to use high resolutions and to activate all of the features of the GPU. I would double check your setup to see which GPU you activated.

  11. Thanks for replying.

    I chose this GPU: 1 x NVIDIA Tesla P100 Virtual Workstation – The GTA resolution thing is weird but i think it’s a GTA problem not a parsec or google problem.

    On other games i get 1080p with high settings but the picture quality goes really bad when i’m moving in game, looking online it seems it is a bit stream problem although i don’t really know what that is lol.

    My download speed is 100 Mbps and upload is 6Mbps…

    Any ideas of how to solve this?

    1. Yep, you’re right. If it is full resolution in other games, then it’s not the wrong GPU. If you connecting through Wifi, make sure that you’re on a 5 Ghz network. If you have the option, then Ethernet is even better. It can also be a sign that you’re connecting from too far away. Meaning that you’re experiencing latency because you’re not physically close to the server that you’re using.

  12. Yes GTA V Is opening only in window ..not able to get full screen for me too .is there any alternate way to get Forza horizon 4 demo or Forza horizon 4 game in Google cloud instance without Microsoft store ??

    1. Not with Google Cloud. It’s a limitation of Windows Server 2016. I even tried to save the Windows Store App from a Windows 10 PC and import into my server. It unfortunately just isn’t compatible.

    1. Not for Windows Server 2016. It doesn’t include the framework to handle Windows Store Apps. The video that you linked is similar to the method that I used to try to import the Windows Store to my Server 2016 server. The Server version of Windows is just missing too much to work with Windows Store content.

  13. hmm, I think it might be that I’m far from the server. I’m in UK but i’m connecting to Belgium servers as UK don’t offer GPU’s right now.
    My next move is to try connecting to Amsterdam Servers but i don’t expect much difference…

    1. There aren’t any currently that are free. Google Cloud provides a fairly generous trial, and they are the only ones that do so much time. Paperspace is similar, but only provides $10 in free credit.

  14. Hi , a problem when I m trying to install virtualhere ..if I setup logiLogi g29 wheel with Virtualhere (USB pass through) it is installing a driver which is making parsec to not work (but racing wheel worked ) ..I m able to see my cloud computer in parsec but play button is lite(I mean disabled,not able to press) …so I tried installing nvidea driver again and install parsec …now I can play parsec but when I open Virtualhere and connecting Logitech g29 racing wheel it is showing “an error using this device ” …….so what to do …if parsec is working Virtualhere not working if Virtualhere works parsec don’t …..I think the problem is with drivers …also while installing parsec we will enable virtual controller support right …so I think that’s the issue …those two drivers clashing ….please tell me a solution please ..I want to use Logitech g29 with Virtualhere USB pass through …

    1. You’re exactly correct. If you choose to enable controller support in Parsec, it will become the primary controller and will prevent VirtualHere from working. You’d need to choose not to setup controller support in Parsec to use VirtualHere.

  15. If I choose not to setup controller in parsec will I be able to use mouse and keyboard through parsec? Or only Logitech g29 racing wheel using Virtualhere ….after installing Virtualhere driver there is a change in nvida display driver also …

  16. tried installing parsec without controller support , and I uninstalled Virtualhere and installed it again …same problem ..it is showing “an error using this device ” …I observed one thing when I connected through Virtualhere without opening parsec it connected normally but when I opened parsec , immediately parsec asked controller detected whether to enable virtual controller support …I selected no but that moment onwards I m not able to connect through Virtualhere ..it is showing “an error was using this device ” …as they are conflicting I tried to install virtualhere on another computer ..so both parsec and virtualhere connected but not able to use Virtualhere connected Logitech g29 in parsec

    1. I don’t personally have a racing wheel to test with. It’s possible that something from Parsec’s virtual driver is left on the system from when you had it enabled before. Might be worth deleting your instance and setting up a new one just to see what happens.

  17. Is there anything with port forwarding .. because we have to Port forward 7575 for virtualhere …( Parsec udp 8000 ) is that causing this ? Whenever I use Logitech g29 in Virtualhere ..it is stopping parsec and afterwards parsec play button becoming disabled (lite unable to click)

    1. I don’t think that it’s an issue with Port Forwarding. VirtualHere and Parsec use a different range of addresses. There shouldn’t be a conflict there. Especially since each works on it’s own without the other. I think it’s more that they are conflicting over creating virtual controllers in the OS.

  18. Ok I can delete instance to get rid of the virtual driver installed previously with parsec ..but what about the driver installed on my laptop ..how to get rid of that ? I think that is causing the issue everything is working untill the parsec in my laptop asking “controller detected whether to enable support ” …

    1. The controller setting only applies to hosting. So in your case only the controller settings on your server will matter. Enabling controller support on your personal computer only matters if that computer hosts a session for another device.

  19. Can we make parsec to not to detect controller .in any settings (disable ) the moment it is recognizing controller detected it’s crashing

    1. There isn’t an option in Parsec to remove the driver independently. Normally the driver is removed when Parsec is uninstalled, but it sounds like that didn’t happen in your case. That’s why I recommended going with a new instance.

  20. I can load up the VM using Parsec and then as soon as I put in my password on the parsec window to start the VM it says my connection is too slow and then i get error like 14003. This makes no sense seeing as i have 40mbs download and 5mbs upload….. Any ideas??

    1. That does sound performance related. Make sure that you’re using 5 GHz WiFi or Ethernet. Also make sure that you are physically close to the server that you’re trying to use.

  21. Hi,

    How do we update the Nvidia driver? Trying to play battlefield 5, but it gives me an error saying it needs to update the Nvidia driver to a newer version through Geforce Experience. But Geforce experience fails to run due to some dll missing error. Please let me know if there is steps I can take to get battlefield 5 through origin access working.

    1. You can’t update the server’s Grid Driver through the GeForce Experience App. You can encounter errors like this when a game isn’t optimized for Cloud Server GPU hardware. Playing games that are like this often require workarounds to bypass the error message. I don’t own Battlefield V to test, but I did find a guide online that you can look into. Looks like there are ways to get around the issue. Keep in mind that I haven’t tested the information that they are providing in this article. So proceed at your own risk: https://www.reddit.com/r/BattlefieldV/comments/9zl4ly/battlefield_v_workaround_for_please_update_your/

  22. Can we use same and setup rainway instead of parsec in Google cloud instance so that if there is any chance that Logitech g29 would work ?

  23. You should include here that it takes 24-48 hours to include the GPU quota. I just spent 25 minutes following your tutorial just to hit a brick wall. A disclaimer would be nice.

  24. This was fun to set up! I was able to get it working thanks for the instructions. Highly recommend doing this if you are interested in it. I have a question though for anyone that has an idea… I have Apex Legends running on full settings and im streaming on parsec to my gaming laptop. Speed test on the host is 1500 mbps down and 1000mbps upload and my laptop is getting 150mbps down 100mbps upload and both are compatible with h.265 encoder so im using that. But I am still getting stutters every 10 seconds, and they dont go away regardless of the in game and parsec settings i use. Is it normal to have frequent micro stutters even on an essentially perfect connection? Thanks for any ideas and thanks for the great guide

    1. It sounds like you should be capable. I’d check your home network. You have the best results over Ethernet to your router. 5 GHz WiFi would be second best. Outside of that, make sure that you’re physically close to the Cloud Server location. 500 miles or less is ideal.

  25. Stuck on downloading the Nvidia driver. I install from your link on this page on the virtual pc but when it starts to download it says it cant download because it’s not compatible with my hardware. Any thoughts?

    Thanks

  26. When I click network settings in parsec it just continues load and doesnt bring up any options but the rest of the application works fine.

  27. I think im having a problem with the Tesla drivers, I downloaded the drivers from the Nvidia website and when i tried to enable the virtual display only one monitor showed up (non generic pnp), I uninstalled it disable and reenabled the display adapter. This only created one monitor which was not running on the graphics card ( again… a non generic pnp) I have not been able to find a solution, hoping I could get some help. Thanks.

  28. Thanks, I finally got it working. I was fun playing around with the VM, im looking forward to learn more about the subject. Right now all what’s left is gettin parsec to detect my mouse, either it is invisible or it does not move at all.

  29. i always get the generic microsoft display no matter what i do

    i’ve carefully done the steps 10 times with the same result

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.