NEWSTech

Why Logitech’s Steam Deck rival is too ahead of its time

A person holding the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld console

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The Logitech G Cloud is a new handheld streaming console that looks a little too forward-thinking in our age of poor public Wi-Fi.

Now fully announced after leaking last month, the Logitech G Cloud is a portable android-powered device that comes with Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now pre-installed. Launching exclusively in North America on October 17 for $349.99 – that’s around £308 / AU$527 – it’ll let you play major triple-A games through the cloud, while on the go.

The console features a seven-inch 1080p touchscreen that supports a 60Hz refresh rate, over 12 hours of battery life, as well as haptics, a gyroscope, and remappable controls. It doesn’t natively support 5G, though, nor includes a SIM card slot, so you’ll have to rely on Wi-Fi to stream anything to the console.

With the Google Play Store pre-installed, you’ll be able to run some of the best Android games as well. It also supports Xbox Remote Play and Steam Link, letting you stream your full Xbox and Steam libraries – including those games that aren’t on Xbox Game Pass – directly to the console.

A little too early

Logitech Gaming video president Ujesh Desai is excited about the prospect, saying (opens in new tab) “Cloud gaming is a super-exciting new way to play games. I love that you can access game libraries from anywhere.

“What we wanted to do was challenge ourselves to build a device that was perfectly optimized for cloud gaming. This meant precision controls – similar to a high-end Xbox controller – a large HD screen, amazing battery life and lightweight design so players can enjoy long gaming sessions, without any compromises.”

But the Logitech G Cloud’s central selling point is seriously undermined by the current state of Wi-Fi accessibility. As a cloud gaming console, you’ll need to be within range of a strong, stable internet connection to play any games on the device. Unfortunately, the places you’re likely to want to take a portable gaming console – trains, airports, cars, and other public places – don’t usually have reliable Wi-Fi. Bring the Logitech G to your local park for a spot of outdoor gaming, and you’ll probably find it’s transformed into a defunct lump of molded plastic.

In a decade’s time, when superfast public Wi-Fi is the norm, the handheld could present one of the simplest, most affordable ways of playing major triple-A games anywhere you want. For now though, with the state of public Wi-Fi what it is, its use case is pretty limited. You’ll likely end up using it at home, somewhat diminishing its purpose as a truly portable handheld console. 

The Logitech G Cloud’s cost will also raise a few eyebrows. Clocking in at the same price as the Nintendo Switch OLED, and only $50 below the cost of Valve’s Steam Deck, many will wonder why they would bother splashing out the streaming-exclusive console. Add to that the subscription fees you’d have to shell out for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or Nvidia GeForce Now, and the price of Logitech’s new bit of kit looks even less appealing.

To attract fence-sitters, Logitech is selling pre-orders (opens in new tab) of the console for $299.99, knocking $50 off its full retail price. It hasn’t said whether the Logitech G Cloud will be coming to other markets outside of North America, but we expect it will roll out to Europe and other regions in the future.

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