Verizon Gaming: Everything You Need to Know

Play your games across a variety of platforms and devices

The Verizon Gaming logo.

Chris Welch/The Verge

In January, Verizon began an alpha test of Verizon Gaming, a streaming service geared toward gamers. Rumors of game streaming services have abounded for some time, and while a few even exist, gamers often find the performance pales in comparison to installing the game on a console or PC.

Although details are not confirmed and the service is still in the early stages, here is everything you need to know about Verizon Gaming.

What is Verizon Gaming?

Verizon Gaming is a brand new streaming service allowing customers to play video games without purchasing them. If you've not heard of it before, there's a reason: Verizon hasn't advertised the existence of the service or even acknowledged it outside of a few interviews.

According to the little information out there, the service is available through the Nvidia Shield and is played with an Xbox One controller. It will eventually make its way to Android smartphones, and testers supposedly have access to it via Google Play. The initial test is rumored to wrap at the end of January.

How Many Games Does Verizon Gaming Have?

The number of games on Verizon Gaming is not confirmed. Reports state "over 135," but what that means exactly isn't clear. Screenshots show games including "Fortnite," "God of War," "Destiny 2," "Red Dead Redemption 2," and "Battlefield V," but therein lies the problem.

A screenshot of the Verizon Gaming service.
 Chris Welch/The Verge

First of all, "God of War" is a PlayStation exclusive. Secondly, "Red Dead Redemption 2" doesn't have a PC version.

The more likely scenario is the screenshots are doctored to show the potential of what Verizon Gaming could become.

Why Has Verizon Remained Quiet About the Service?

Verizon is keeping the service quiet until more testing can be done. In an email to participants, Verizon wrote, "This trial is primarily focused on performance. At a later date, when we advance the product, our library will consist of most or all of the top games you are familiar with — but at this early stage we're working on the engine and its parts."

PlayStation Now, a similar streaming service, launched to a host of connection problems. Even when gamers could connect to the service, certain types of games were all but unplayable. Fighting games, for example, rely on rapid responses and precise inputs. Even a few seconds of lag can destroy the experience. Until those issues were solved, players did not enjoy the experience.

Verizon likely hopes to avoid similar problems by conducting ample tests before they officially launch Verizon Gaming.

Does Verizon Gaming Have Competition?

Verizon Gaming might be the most recent cloud service to come onto the scene, but it's not the only one. Microsoft is working on Project xCloud, a cloud-based gaming service similar to Verizon Gaming. Google's service, Project Stream, is already in early trials. Other rumors state Amazon may be working on a streaming service of its own.

The one advantage Verizon has over the other companies is it also provides Internet service. Access to 5G broadband both while at home and on the go could solve many of the latency issues that game streaming services have faced so far. Verizon Gaming can also be seen as an easy add-on to an existing Verizon package.

Until the company officially announces Verizon Gaming and opens it to the public for beta tests, information will likely remain limited. However, early reports about the service are promising. If Verizon can overcome the hurdles that have plagued game-based streaming services so far and create the fabled "Netflix for games" so many have touched on, it will be a day of celebration for gamers everywhere.

That said, services like Xbox Games Pass and EA Access already provide a certain level of this service. While gamers have to download the titles to play them, a single monthly fee and unlimited access to a large library of games make the potential of these services exciting.