Plex has unveiled a new component to its streaming software called Plex Arcade that adds game-streaming to its movie and music streaming capabilities.
The service, which is still in beta, will cost non-Plex Pass users $5 per month or, for those who already have a Plex Pass, an extra $2.99 per month. It allows you to stream over two dozen Atari games on your PC, Mac, iOS, tvOS and Android devices.
Additionally, the new service allows you to host ROMs – should you have them – on your own private Plex server and stream them to your devices. You’ll need to install a Libretro-style emulator “core”, which provides emulation capability for a given platform and some corresponding game ROMs, but then you’ll have everything you need to start streaming ROMs for SNES, Sega Genesis or over a dozen other consoles.
As for controllers, Plex says that any Bluetooth or USB game controller should work – but for best results, Plex recommends a Sony DualShock 4 or Xbox One controller. Theoretically, a PS5 or Xbox Series X controller should work as well, but they weren’t mentioned specifically by Plex in its Plex Arcade blog post.
The service is available to try for free for seven days through Plex’s official website, but Plex Arcade will require a Windows or macOS Plex Media Server (no Linux for now).
Watch out Google Stadia, Plex has your number
Powering Plex’s new game-streaming service is Parsec, peer-to-peer software that connects you remotely to another PC. It’s that low-latency streaming technology that allows you Plex Pass to work.
What makes the service so interesting is that it really expands Plex’s capabilities while keeping in line with the company’s ethos of making your media available to you wherever you are. It’s always been able to stream music, movies and TV shows from your computer to your devices, but now you can add games to the list, too.
Admittedly, Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now users probably aren’t going to give up current-gen games to stream Game Boy Color games on Plex Arcade, but for ROM library owners looking to stream their legally obtained game collection, it’s a super appealing proposition for just a few bucks per month.