$4.99 A Month, $2.99 If You Have Plex Pass
The idea sounds great, the ability to play a list of old Atari games they provide as well as serve any ROMs you might have on your computer up to other devices. The price is somewhat hard to justify, Plex itself costs $4.99 a month already so adding Plex Arcade adds a fair amount of price for not a lot of value. It would help if Plex Arcade had indicated that the library of several dozen old games would grow over time, or if they had included a single game a little more interesting than Centipede or BasketBrawl but they have not.
As to adding your own ROMs, the spiel says “Browse old-school favourites from the Atari library or start adding your own game ROMs, then let the gaming begin!” but as Ars Technica discovered things are not that easy, especially if you are trying to play on a mobile device. They started a scan on ROMs on a PC and while it found some, such as Game Boy, Sega Genesis and SNES but GameCube, Xbox and others were not detected.
It got worse when they tried to run the games after installing Parsec,as the instructions stated, for they ended up in an endless loading screen. After a while they tried on the Windows app and were greeted with an error message starting “The core mapping file is missing a core for [console name].” This error would not show on anything other than the Windows app, which is not giong to go well for someone that wants to play on a tablet or other mobile device. There was no obvious documentation about this error available on Plex and when Ars reached out directly they were directed to a less than easy to locate sub-FAQ which indicated you will need to install RetroArch and learn how to use it.
The idea is interesting, but the launch could have been executed more effectively so for now you probably want to skip out on Plex Arcade.
But while Plex has experimented with new features and media options over the past decade-plus, this week sees the service take its first-ever stab at interactive media. As in, games.