Plex is already one of the best options to host your digital copies of movies, tv shows, music, and even photos. But it just picked up a new trick—gaming. You can now subscribe to the Plex Arcade service, which nets you 30 Atari games and the ability to add your own game ROMS and emulators to stream anywhere.
Update, 2/24/22: It’s been just over a year, and Plex Arcade is now dead. Well, it dies on March 31st of 2022. Either way, RetroArcher is your best option for cloud gaming with Plex.
Plex has been considering getting into game streaming for years. It already has the necessary underlying technology down, thanks to its existing media streaming efforts. But unlike movies and shows, latency matters when it comes to game streaming. To help with that, Plex partnered with Parsec, a company known for its low-latency streaming technology.
With a Plex Arcade subscription, you’ll get immediate access to 30 classic Atari games, including Avalanche, Centipede, Lunar Lander, and more. Plex worked with Atari to ensure the games are fully licensed and legal for you to use. But if you prefer your own games, you can add your ROM collection and emulators to the list. The idea of seeing a game collection done up in Plex’s beautiful stylings is enticing.
Gaming is only good as the controllers, and you have plenty of support there. While you can use a keyboard and mouse, you’re better off paring up a Bluetooth controller, like an Xbox or PlayStation controller. For now, due to Parsec’s requirements, you’ll need to run your media streaming server on a PC or macOS device, which means it won’t work on Linux, NAS devices, or NVIDIA SHIELD-powered servers. You can stream gameplay to Android (mobile and TV), iOS, tvOS, and the Chrome web browser.
Because of licensing, Plex can’t offer the new Arcade feature for free, even if you do have a Plex Pass. If you want to subscribe to Plex Arcade, it’s $2.99 a month for Plex Pass subscribers and $4.99 for everyone else. You can try the service free for seven days before making a decision.
Plex admits outright that it’s testing this service and that it may not stick around. The company calls Plex Arcade an “internal Kickstarter.” If enough users subscribe, the company will expand support and possibly add more games. But it doesn’t garner enough subscribers; the service may die.
Still, if you’re looking for an easy and beautiful place to store and stream your ROMS and love Atari games, it’s worth a look. Or at least a seven-day trial.