Shadow is a cloud-based computing platform like no other. While Google Stadia lets you play games on just about any screen through its cloud-based gaming technology, and NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW allows you to enjoy gaming on any device, Shadow is quite different. Instead of offering a separate gaming service, or running games through its own launcher, Shadow gives you a full Windows computer at your disposal, which can be used for gaming, graphic design, or anything, really.

Shadow gives you a powerful desktop anywhere from just $11.99 per month

Shadow comes in three tiers now, with up to 1TB of storage and enough horsepower to tackle just about any task. You’ll essentially be getting a cloud-based Windows virtual machine that can be accessed from Apple TV, Mac, Windows, Android, or iPhone, giving you quite a few ways to get at your new computer.

I’ve been using Shadow’s original plan over the past few months on-and-off for PC-based gaming (to see if I would want to get back into it), and have really enjoyed it. While there are some hiccups, that’s a given considering you’re running a Windows computer in the cloud. But, when it gets down to it, Shadow can game very well when compared to other services like GeForce NOW or Stadia.

Three tiers of Shadow for every user

Shadow offers three separate tiers with different price points depending on what your specific use case is.

Shadow Boost is perfect for the console user who wants to try out PC gaming

Building a PC can be expensive, even on the low-end. Well, Shadow gives you the ability to try out PC gaming from just $11.99 per month. The Boost user will have access to a GTX 1080 (equivalent or better) graphics card and a 4-core processor clocked at 3.4GHz (or equivalent.) 12GB of RAM and 256GB of base storage (with upgrades available should you need it) round out this budget-focused high-tier cloud-based gaming rig.

Shadow Ultra is perfect for those who want to game at 4K Ultra

With an RTX 2080 (or equivalent) graphics card available here, the Shadow Ultra tier is perfect for those who want high-end PC-based gaming without breaking the bank. It starts at $24.99 and includes a 4-core 4GHz processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD (though more can be purchased if needed.)

I think this is the tier most will land on, as it makes the most sense. Overall, you’ll pay around $300 per year for access to this system, in which the graphics card alone would cost $600 to purchase outright. You’ll enjoy up to 4K gaming with Ray Tracing, which is something that most systems just can’t produce unless you spend thousands.

The creator or gamer who needs it all will want Shadow Infinite

Shadow Infinite is the company’s highest-tier plan. It includes a Titan RTX (or equivalent) graphics card and a 6-core 4GHz processor. The RAM clocks in at 32GB and it includes 1TB of storage (though more can be purchased.)

This is the tier that really offers it all. Though it starts at $39.99 per month (or $480 per year,) you’re getting insane specs here. The Titan RTX, for example, has an insane price for $2,500 on Amazon. So, yeah, this tier is well worth $480 per year if you need high-end graphical processing power.

Sure, Shadow is powerful, but what can it do?

Well, if you’re not really into gaming, Shadow still might be of use to you. With the higher-tier plans (or storage upgrades), you can easily use Shadow to edit 4K video projects through Premier Pro should your local machine not handle it well. This is thanks to the fact that Shadow just runs Windows 10, and is not an emulator. This allows you to run any application that would require Windows 10 to function, and you’ll have access to as much power as you need, from any device. I’ve run Shadow on my iPad flawlessly over a mobile connection and even used it to access some files from an iPhone while on-the-go. The possibilities are endless here, as long as you can deal with using a full-blown machine on a small display. Something to note, however, is that the Shadow app was removed from the App Store a little while ago and the company is working on fixing the issues and getting it resubmitted as soon as it can.

I’ve spoken with Shadow techs on previous occasions and each instance has its own graphics card and CPU attached whenever you log on, meaning you’re not sharing a system with anyone else. When you detach, your GPU becomes available to someone else to use and then the next time you log on, you’ll grab a free card, and the cycle continues.

Shadow has its eyes set cloud-high

Shadow’s goals don’t end with standard gaming or video editing in the cloud. no, the company is setting its eyes sky cloud-high. Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy VR in the cloud, thanks to Shadow’s new “ground-breaking” VR Exploration Program. This is designed to “push the boundaries of VR” and Shadow aims at “freeing VR headsets from any hardware constraints.”

The company is also partnering with LG, which allows both companies to work strategically on new products in the future. Namely, LG’s UltraGear gaming monitors which offer fantastic image quality and a fast response time, making them perfect to take advantage of Shadow’s high-end processing power.

Shadow pricing and availability

Shadow’s full pricing breakdown will be available below, but in general, you’ll pay right around $12, $25, or $40 per month if you purchase a year at a time. Shadow Boost is available immediately across the entire US right now, including the 10 states where it wasn’t yet accessible.

Shadow Ultra and Shadow Infinite will be offered to a limited number of users this summer before a wider rollout happens later in the year.

  • Shadow Boost
    • $11.99 per month when you sign up for a 12-month plan
    • $14.99 per month when you go month-to-month
  • Shadow Ultra
    • $24.99 per month when you sign up for a 12-month plan
    • $29.99 per month when you go month-to-month
  • Shadow Infinite
    • $39.99 per month when you sign up for a 12-month plan
    • $49.99 per month when you go month-to-month

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Patrick Campanale's favorite gear