Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Shadow X Team Envy charity party at the Team Envy office. The event itself, benefiting the charity Extra Life, presented an opportunity for me to get some firsthand experience with one of the leading game-streaming services available. The event ended up being a huge success and in light of this I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of both parties and shed some light on how they are each forging a path for the future of esports and gaming in general.

For those who do not know, Shadow is one of the fastest growing companies in the relatively new game-streaming industry. As a sort of celebration of their opening a new a data center in Texas, they partnered with the well established esports franchise Team Envy to raise some money for a great cause while showcasing their service. I personally had the chance to test out the service myself by playing a few rounds of Overwatch and I came away quite impressed. Being a PC enthusiast myself, I had never really given much thought to any game-streaming service as building my own high-end PCs is something I can’t imagine I will ever stop doing. Therefore while I and others like me may not ever fully buy into to using the service ourselves, it is important to recognize that such services provide valuable options to those who still love to game but are not keen on dumping thousands of dollars into a new PC every few years. Keeping this in mind I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put Shadow to the test and explore the limitations of what this technology can offer. At present, Shadow is capable of streaming games at either 1920×1080 @ 144hz or 2560×1440 @ 60hz. The machine I was set up on was running on the former settings and despite being on a wifi connection in an office chocked full of other devices on the network, I was able to play without any noticeable lag or issues while maintaining a rather steady 99 frames per second. Making this even more impressive is that the game was running on “Epic” settings which are the highest for Overwatch.

Aside from the hands-on time I and a few others got to experience, Shadow showcased its potential during the main event of the night. Team Owner and CEO of Team Envy Mike “hastr0” Rufail rounded up a squad of four players including himself to participate in a stream of Overwatch as he attempted to climb up in ranked play while using Shadow. The stream was hosted on Twitch by Justin “Jayne” Conroy who is a popular Overwatch personality and Assistant Coach for Team Envy’s Overwatch League team, the Dallas Fuel. Although things did not go quite as intended regarding hastr0’s attempted ladder climb, the fundraising effort was an enormous success. Thanks to the generosity of the viewers, the stream was able to raise a sum of over $6,200 (crushing their original goal of $2,500) with all proceeds going to Extra Life benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

In all aspects, this event was an absolute pleasure to be a part of. Having a chance to glimpse into the future of affordable and accessible gaming by experiencing Shadow and getting to meet and interact with members of one of the world’s most established esports franchises in Team Envy was an exciting opportunity to say the least. The fact both organizations chose to use this event to raise awareness and funds for a wonderful cause only served to elevate it to the next level, and I think such events are invaluable in promoting gaming and esports as both continue to grow.

To learn more about Shadow, Team Envy, and Extra Life please click the hyperlinks!