Skip to main content
XCloud running Gears 5
XCloud running Gears 5 (Image credit: Android Central)

Consoles are cool and all, but using the best game streaming apps on the best gaming phone is a whole other experience. Have you spent years building up a vast library of games in your Steam Library? Or are you an Xbox fan-boy who wants to be able to play Halo on your phone? With game streaming apps you'll be able to play games wherever you are, and much more.

There are more cloud gaming services out there than you might realize, with more companies getting involved all the time. This makes it so you don't have to have the top-of-the-line gaming PC just to enjoy the latest AAA titles. All you need is a good Android phone, a gaming controller, and a phone mount, and you are ready to play deep into the night.

These are the best Game streaming apps

For the time being, there are three big players when it comes to the best game streaming apps for Android. Xbox Game Pass is finally out of its beta stage and is available for many Android users. Microsoft expanded its partnership with Samsung, making the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra some of the first handsets to support this new streaming service out of the box.

Google Stadia saw a rocky launch, and the company has been relatively quiet ever since, but it supports more than 100 games now, which is a far cry from the days where you were limited to around 20. But there's stiff competition from all sides and it will be interesting to see Google's response with Stadia in the months to come.

PC gamers can rejoice knowing that they can finally play their favorite PC games from the comfort of their smartphone. NVIDIA GeForce Now has a library of compatible games, so you can use it to stream games you already own. There are a few limitations, so if you plan on a 12-hour live stream, you might want to think twice.

1. Xbox Game Streaming

Razer Kishi Project xCloud

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Game Library: 100+ Games
  • Output: 4K @ 60 FPS
  • Price: $14.99/month

What started out as a beta program has turned into something much more ambitious. Xbox Game Pass has transformed into the de-facto option to play all of your Xbox games from wherever you happen to be. Set your phone up with a mount and grab your favorite controller, then fire up the Xbox Game Streaming app.

Currently, there are more than 100 titles to choose from, but we are expecting more to arrive — both first and third-party titles. After Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda, we wouldn't be surprised to see the likes of Fallout or Doom made available sooner rather than later.

Xbox Game Streaming is compatible with many of the most popular Android phones. Getting started is easy, as you can sign up for a free trial, and then you'll be paying $14.99 per month with Game Pass Ultimate.

2. Google Stadia

The controller used for Stadia

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)
  • Game Library: 100+ Games
  • Output: 4K @ 60 FPS
  • Price: $9.99/month

If you're someone who enjoys living in the Google ecosystem, chances are you've already tried out Stadia for a bit. The service launched back in 2019 and featured just 22 games. Since then, Stadia's library has expanded to more than 100 games, and is available on many more devices outside of the Pixel lineup.

Those with a Chromecast Ultra and Stadia Controller can enjoy game streaming to your TV. The service has had a few hiccups over the last year or so, but if you have a Stadia Pro subscription, you are granted the ability to play pre-selected games for free on a regular basis, which you can keep as long as you have the subscription.

Google offers a one-month free-trial for Stadia, and a three month free-trial for those who purchase the Stadia Premiere Edition (opens in new tab). After the trial period has ended, you'll be looking at $9.99 month to continue enjoying some pretty great games with Stadia.

3. NVIDIA GeForce Now

Razer Kishi on display at CES 2020

Source: Russell Holly / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Russell Holly / Android Central)
  • Game Library: 500+ Supported Games
  • Output: 1080p @ 60 FPS
  • Price: $4.99/month

NVIDIA GeForce Now is an obvious choice when it comes to the best game streaming apps, as the library is absolutely massive. There are more than 500 games that are touted as working with the service. As long as you own the game on Steam, UPlay, or other PC platforms, you can likely play it through GeForce Now. Then you can play it on other PCs or even on your phone.

While it's free to stream your games with GeForce Now, you will be limited to only being able to play for an hour at a time. This means you'll get "kicked" from the server and will have to queue back up after the hour limit has been met. If you want to bypass this limitation, GeForce Now Founders Edition is priced at $4.99 per month, giving you the ability to stream for up to six hours at a time.

Despite being in "beta" status since 2017, NVIDIA has finally removed the training wheels and opened the service to everyone. There are even some added benefits like "NVIDIA Highlights" which automatically saves some of your in-game moments, making it easy to share them with your friends.

Other great options

As we've mentioned a few times, there are a lot of new and recently-updated applications that allow you to stream your faovrite games to your Android smartphone or tablet. Some of them can even be installed and used on an Android TV that doesn't have to be an NVIDIA Shield. These following picks may not have made our top three, but are all great options nonetheless.

PS4 Remote Play

DualShock 4 Controller On Laptop

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)
  • Game Library: Your PS4 Game Library
  • Output: 1080p @ 60 FPS
  • Price: Free

Sometimes you come across a situation where a new game has launched for the PS4 but the TV is being occupied. With PS4 Remote Play, you don't have to miss out on playing that title and can do so right from your phone or tablet. There are a few things that need to be done in order to set up PS4 Remote Play, but then it's game on!

Since you've already purchased the PS4 and games, there are no extra costs associated with using PS4 Remote Play. We just recommend picking up a PS4 controller phone mount so you can put your phone in the cradle while the TV is being occupied. Then you can keep playing on the big screen after the movie's over.

Steam Link

Steam Link running on a Razer Phone 2

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)
  • Game Library: Your Steam Library
  • Output: 4K @ 60 FPS
  • Price: Free

It's no secret that Steam is arguably the best way to keep your gaming library organized on your PC. But many titles aren't available via your favorite console, let alone on the Play Store. With Steam Link, you won't have to worry about any of that, as it's dead simple to get Steam Link on Android.

You will obviously need the best game controller for Android, as you won't be playing with your keyboard and mouse. But after downloading Steam Link to your smartphone, tablet, or even Android TV, you can enjoy all of your favorite PC games. The best part is that you no longer need the old Steam Link hardware box in order to take advantage, and there are no additional costs involved.

Parsec

  • Game Library: Your PC Game Library
  • Output: 4K @ 60 FPS
  • Price: Free

Parsec is a relatively-new contender in the best game streaming apps category. The service launched back in 2018, and has been refined over recent years into one of the best options. One of the biggest benefits to Parsec is the ability to play co-op games without both players actually needing to be in the same room, let alone the same house. This is done through a proprietary networking protocol that adds just 7 milliseconds of latency. Basically, it lets you play with your friends over the cloud.

This service is also being transformed into a robust Remote Desktop tool. If you're stuck at home, but want to watch a movie with your friends, then you can fire up Parsec and bring the party anywhere. Parsec provides up to 4K at 60 FPS screen sharing, removing the jitters and jumps that usually occur when trying to share your screen. You won't need additional hardware, and there are the added benefits of having 2FA, peer-to-peer workflows, and an encrypted connection.

AMD Link

  • Game Library: Your PC Game Library
  • Output: 4K @ 60 FPS
  • Price: Free

On one hand, you have NVIDIA with GeForce Now, which allows you to play games in the cloud regardless of hardware. However, AMD has its own cloud gaming service, which is not as feature-rich but is perfect for those with a compatible graphics card. After setting up the AMD Link server on your Desktop PC, you can then begin streaming any of your games right to your mobile device.

AMD Link is also unique in that it can act as a secondary display on your smartphone, showing off your metrics during intense gaming sessions. You can view things like RAM and CPU utilization, along with your FPS at a glance without ever exiting the game you are playing.

Amazon Luna

Luna Controller

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)
  • Game Library: 100+ Games
  • Output: 4K @ 60 FPS
  • Price: $5.99/month

Amazon Luna is the new kid on the block, with the company announcing it'll launch later this year. Luna features a library of more than 100 games, and there's an additional partnership with Ubisoft to add even more. What makes this even more awesome is that you won't be tied to an Amazon Fire TV Stick if you want to play.

Luna will be available on Android, iOS, Mac, PC, and of course, Fire TV. Games can be played at up to 4K resolution at 60 FPS. With the new Luna Controller, users can switch between devices easier than ever without needing to pair it with every device you want to play on thanks to Amazon's Cloud Servers. It will be interesting to see how this stacks up against the other competitors when it comes to the best game streaming apps.

Andrew Myrick
Andrew Myrick

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.

2 Comments
  • Stadia does not have to be $9.99/mo, especially if you are only playing on a phone. You can simply buy the games a la carte and you have access to them in 1080p/60fps. As an example, when Risk of Rain 2 launched on Stadia it was discounted for all users and the cost was $19.99. Set up a free Stadia account, purchase the game, and you can play it anywhere anytime at 1080p/60fps, no monthly recurring fee necessary. The $9.99/mo subscription gets you some significant discounts on purchasing games, service additions of 4k HDR + Surround Sound support as well as a smattering of free claimable games each month to add to your Pro collection. While games rotate in and out of the claimable list each month, once they are claimed they are tied to your account and playable any time you are subbed to Pro, even after they have rotated out of the claimable list. For example, I have been subbed for about a year now, and I have 44 games in my growing Pro collection. That number will vary per user because purchased games are accessible without Pro.
  • xCloud does not have a 4k resolution. It's only 720p and restricted to android. I know, this article is about streaming apps on android but it's better if I have the choice to play on my TV / Laptop. Stadia does not have a monthly fee. The service is free if you buy games there (at least with 1080p). Stadia Pro offers 4K, Surround Sound and free games. Currently Stadia seems to be the best game streaming service. GeForce Now seems good too if you already have a lot of games, but latency feels better for me on Stadia. Xbox Game Pass only make sense if you also have a Xbox.