Cloud gaming is definitely the future, no matter what people think of it. It is the perfect solution for casual gamers who don’t want to invest money into rigs that they will use rarely. With cloud gaming, we are able to enjoy the latest titles on some PC far-far away and pay a small fee for renting it. At least that’s how it started out, as the market started to be more competitive things started to change.
My first cloud gaming experience was with OnLive and I was amazed how well it was working. There was no input lag and for a second I forgot that the game wasn’t running on my PC. When OnLive sold their tech to Sony for what is now PlayStation Now I was a bit bummed out but I found a replacement very fast. That replacement was Liquid Sky, a cloud gaming solution that was based on renting a PC rather than playing preinstalled games what was the case with OnLive. Liquid Sky was in beta, I applied for a slot and got it. Things were great until the 2.0 version came out.
The beta version was insanely great, the performance was unparalleled by any cloud gaming service you could find on the internet. I tested it on slow connections and it was still working perfectly fine, lower picture quality compensated for a fast response time. After a while, I realized that this could be my permanent gaming solution so I decided to buy credits for LiqidSky and some new games that I played on that PC. Then the app updated to version 2.0 and everything good just vanished. The performance from the beta version was nowhere to be found and user experience concerned no one in this company I would say.
Remember that I was playing games in the beta version with a connection of 10 Mbps. That was a nightmare with 2.0 so I upgraded to 50 Mbps, not a single thing changed. I had to downgrade visual performance and was forced to play on 720p if I wanted no input lag. That wasn’t the only issue, my games started crashing (mostly multiplayer games) but not in an ordinary way. I was getting a green screen while still hearing the sound from the game. It was obviously running in the background but I wasn’t getting feedback. If you think that’s all, oh no, these guys have more in store.
I gave the service a rest for about a month and wanted to log in again when I saw that they released an update in hopes that the bugs are fixed. I was greeted with a message – “Only monthly subscribers are allowed to play at peak hours“. Wait a minute, I have about 40 hours remaining to spend that I paid with REAL MONEY while the service was good. Now I can’t play unless I purchase a subscription for something that probably isn’t fixed yet? I left it there and forgot about it for a while. Came back about two weeks after that to see one last mind fuck from Liquid Sky.
It’s not the peak hours anymore, this thing is mandatory now! No matter how much money you spent on their pay as you go plan, which is still available by the way, you won’t be able to spend those credits without spending more money on a monthly plan!
After numerous emails where I asked for a refund at least I got nothing. I decided to ask them on Reddit about it and wrote a big text post explaining all of this in short. The post was held for moderation (all posts are now heavily moderated in their sub) and appeared to be deleted. Then I decided to contact the mods and ask why did they delete my post? Didn’t get a reply but the text was back, the post however, never appeared in the subreddit.
What was once a great hope for cloud gaming as a whole became the worst gaming related service that I ever encountered. They don’t care about their customers, beta testers aren’t respected at all even if we spent money on their service and, as you can see, some of us can’t even spend our credits that we bought.
I had only great words for Liquid Sky once, that time is long gone. They managed to destroy a perfectly working app and to show no respect to their customers in the process. Just stay away from them, at least for now. PlayStation Now, with all of its flaws, is definitely light years ahead.
Edit: In the text above I have mentioned that I downgraded the image quality to 480p, that wasn’t an option on Liquid Sky as they only offer 720p and 1080p image quality. Sincerest apology for that. They have also asked me to remove the part where I couldn’t access the service during peak hours because that only applied to free users and the part where I mentioned that a monthly plan is now mandatory. From all of this drama I have revealed that, due to a mistake on their end, I was treated by the software as a free user regardless of the 60 hours worth of credits that I had. Judging by the comments on this article I was not alone and I will not correct that part because it was true for me. I could not play at peak hours and I could not access my PC until I made a purchase. Since this issue was reported to them and I got no response until I wrote this peace I see no reason for those parts to be removed.
I have to mention that they also explained the Reddit issue:
This isn’t untrue, but our subreddit is not in use. We make it very obvious that our community forums is the place to go for help. It appears his post was auto moderated.
Nowhere in the subreddit does it say that it’s inactive.