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The Galaxy Note 10 got most of the attention at Samsung’s recent Unpacked event, and quite understandably. Samsung also talked about its upcoming PlayGalaxy Link game streaming platform. PlayGalaxy wasn’t available when the Note 10 launched, but it has now started rolling out as a beta. This is your chance to (kind of) play desktop games on your smartphone.
Samsung’s PlayGalaxy Link is similar to Nvidia GameStream — the game renders on your computer. The PlayGalaxy client encodes the video and streams it to your mobile device over the local network or the internet. Your control inputs go back to the PC, allowing you to play the game. It’s like a fancy, low-latency remote desktop.
The get set up, you’ll need the desktop PlayGalaxy Link client, which is only available for Windows 10. You also need a reasonably powerful GPU (at least NVIDIA GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 550), a Core i5 or higher, 8GB of RAM, and a gigabit router. The app strongly suggests having your PC wired to the router rather than connected via Wi-Fi. The client should detect games on your PC, but it only spotted one for me. You can manually add more by directing it to the EXE files. On the phone side, there’s a PlayGalaxy Link app available in Samsung’s Galaxy Store.
PlayGalaxy Link is still in beta, and it only works on the Note 10 and Note 10+ for the time being, More Samsung phones will get support soon, though. There’s support for wired and Bluetooth game controllers, which make desktop games playable on a phone. If you choose to use the on-screen controls, well, good luck. Even on the gigantic Note 10+, the screen is too small to play a complex game with on-screen buttons effectively.
There’s no additional cost to use PlayGalaxy Link since you already own the games and are running them on your PC. However, don’t expect miracles right now. The app truly earns its beta label right now. The client connects and launches games reliably, but the video lag is substantial from my testing. You’d have little hope of playing a real-time game, but something turn-based might be feasible.
If Samsung can get the kinks worked out, PlayGalaxy Link could be an additional selling point for the company’s high-end phones. It’s tough to get people to drop $1,000 on a phone, and every little bit helps.