Xbox Games Pass. PlayStation Now. Gaikai and OnLive. While the notion of a subscription-based games service isn’t new, Utomik handles a seemingly unlimited library of games in a different manner, showing its promise and failings in equal quantities.
While PlayStation Now and OnLive stream games to end users, Utomik instead processes a game on your PC, streaming it to your own hardware in manageable chunks. A majority of its library can be started almost instantly, only requiring a small starting download, continuing as you play. This makes the service different to Xbox Games Pass, which needs to download a game in full before you begin.
The result means you’re only limited by your PC – though most looking to play PC titles will have rigs that can handle what Utomik offers. One of the service’s latest titles, Metro Last Light Redux, is reasonably old, meaning its meagre system requirements are some of the most taxing. My original Surface Book handled the game with ease, while the review Alienware 13 OLED we have sitting in the office practically yawned while booting it up. Cloud saves meant I could bounce between PCs with relative ease.
Sampling a number of titles, I never encountered any issues with the chunk-based method of game delivery. Titles that require a larger chunk to start are clearly designated before you begin, though on average, most titles took between 10-20 minutes on good ol’ Aussie ADSL2+ to begin.
As appealing as choosing and starting a PC game in practically no time is, Utomik’s biggest hindrance is its library. With 565 titles available at the time of writing, its biggest drawcards are the Metro Redux series, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, Borderlands, Overlord II, Darksiders II, Saints Row II, Dead Island: Riptide, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and many Telltale Games episodic titles. Other, low- to mid-range casual titles pad out the rest of the library.
While the top shelf offerings are quality games, they’re quite simply dated. Comparing the $10 USD charge to other services (though it’s $5 USD during its open beta), its technological benefits are easily outweighed by a lack of true choice.
Utomik’s current beta shows a lot of unfilled promise. The service isn’t anywhere near the likes of Steam, nor other subscription-based offerings, though you can see the potential behind it. Given time — and a far more robust library –this would be an easy recommendation to consumers already comfortable with the likes of Netflix for TV and movies, and Spotify for music.
You’re able to grab a free 14-day trial if you’d like to check Utomik out for yourself.
Utomik was reviewed using a 30-day free trial, as provided by the service, on a Surface Book and Alienware 13 OLED.