CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Shadow Brings Its Cloud PCs to Creatives

Shadow for Makers will let you subscribe to cloud-based systems for photo, video and 3D editing, and more.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
2 min read
A screenshot of a Shadow Echo session, with six large thumbnails showing different users at different points in a game and with annotation controls beneath.

Shadow Echo, which allows game developers to monitor and receive feedback from multiple test sessions simultaneously.


Blade's reinvention of its Shadow desktop-in-the-cloud service expands it well beyond gaming -- previously with Shadow for Enterprise, and now to Shadow for Makers, a new virtual PC subscription targeted at creatives starting at $59 per month. 

Shadow's technology allows you to stream a full PC to almost any lower-powered device, like a phone or Chromebook, as well as Macs, similar to the way cloud gaming works for just games. Because Shadow for Makers is still a full Windows desktop, you can still play (or develop) games on it. It's available starting today.

The company hasn't moved too far from its gaming roots, however, launching two game studio-focused services, too: Virtual Booth, which may eventually be the installation-free way you try out new games; and Echo Session, a streamlined way for studios to test and get feedback on their games. The latter have been developed in conjunction with Bandai Namco.

Of the four plans launching Wednesday, two will be available in North America (the other two are Europe-only): Spark, which gives you an eight-core slice of an Intel Xeon CPU and the equivalent of an 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, along with 12GB RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive for $59 per month; and Zenith, which provides dual eight-core slices of an AMD Epyc CPU with a 20GB Nvidia RTX A4500 (the workstation equivalent of an RTX 3090 Ti) with 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD for $139 per month. Both allow for upgrades to storage, and Zenith will be upgraded to 28GB in the second quarter of this year.

A screenshot showing the four Shadow for Makers plans, Spark, Aurora, Zenith and Lightning, with pricing and configurations.
Enlarge Image
A screenshot showing the four Shadow for Makers plans, Spark, Aurora, Zenith and Lightning, with pricing and configurations.

The Spark configuration is suitable for tasks like midrange photo editing that don't require a high-powered graphics card, while the Zenith configuration is better suited for video editing and 3D design. The Xeon and Epyc CPU generations and GTX GPU aren't great for AI acceleration, which has become more mainstream, especially for automating a lot of photo- and video-editing tasks. On the flip side, though, the data centers hosting these servers have much better internet connections than yours, which can be a boon when working collaboratively on video.

Also of note, Virtual Booth brings the game event platform we could have used during the pandemic. It can host up to roughly 100,000 players gaming from the cloud, and will support social media, gamer feedback and Twitch streaming when it launches in the fall.