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Game Over: Plex Kills Its Cloud Gaming Service After Just One Year

The Plex Arcade logo over two people playing an Atari game.

Plex Arcade is one of the most ambitious cloud gaming services available today. Just as you might use Plex to stream your personal collection of movies, Plex Arcade lets you stream your classic game ROMs to any device. Unfortunately, Plex Arcade kind of sucks, so the service will be discontinued on March 31st.

Customers immediately criticized Plex Arcade when it launched in January of 2021. The service just didn’t fulfill its promise; you couldn’t just drag Super Nintendo ROMs into your Plex server and immediately use them with Plex Arcade—you had to manually install DLL files from RetroArch and edit metadata by hand.

And even if you took the time to set up Plex Arcade (or play its pre-installed Atari games), the service was pretty laggy and lacked basic emulation features. There were no save states, and you couldn’t re-map your controllers. Why endure all this crap when old-fashioned emulators require less effort?

We’ve made the difficult decision to close the doors on Plex Arcade on March 31, 2022. Since its launch a little over a year ago, we’ve encountered some significant hurdles along the way that ultimately prevented us from making Plex Arcade the awesome experience we set out to build for our gamers.

The price also rubbed customers the wrong way—free Plex users paid $5 a month for Plex Arcade, and oddly enough, Plex Pass members were expected to pay $3 a month. It doesn’t help that Plex Arcade only worked with PC-based Plex Media Servers.

Some customers could ignore these problems, but they couldn’t ignore RetroArcher, a free Plex Arcade alternative that actually works. The RetroArcher plug-in is free and adds cloud gaming functionality to Plex, with all those emulation features that customers actually care about.

We’re not sure why Plex fumbled the ball here. Maybe the company just wants to avoid the crosshairs of Nintendo and other gaming companies. Either way, Plex is now emailing customers to announce the end of Plex Arcade. From now through March 31st, Plex Arcade customers can use the service at no additional charge.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »