Does the word game-changer mean anything to you?
Nvidia has finally announced that GeForce Now, its cloud streaming service, will be available for the public. Previously the service was in a beta form and was only accessible via an invite. However, as of today, everyone is able to check out the offering and it will now come in two different tiers.
While there are already a number of PC cloud gaming services, Nvidia Now was always impressive during my hands-on. It offers up to 60 FPS and above and it works on a number of devices; Nvidia Shield TV, PC, Mac, and Android-powered devices (Android 5 and above). Meaning if you have a PC that isn’t up to the task of playing the latest games, you can just opt to use Nvidia GeForce Now and saving yourself some cash. And yes, you can use this service on the go, outside of your home and it works great.
A free tier is available that will provide up to 1-hour of gaming before the session is disconnected. You’ll be to keep playing but you’ll have to restart the said game after every hour. As well as a Founder’s tier which is priced at $4.99 monthly. This offering is perhaps the best as it not only provides up to 6-hours of game time but also access to Nvidia’s RTX feature set. RTX, for those who aren’t aware of Nvidia’ Ray Tracing technology and it makes games look even better; assuming the game has RTX features. I do want to point out that the Founder’s tier will go up in price at a later date, this is just an introductory offer. Though I believe if you are a Founder’s subscriber that you’re locked in.
Outside of RTX, the biggest draw of GeForce Now is how the service handles games. Unlike some other offerings, GeForce Now lets you use the games you already own on Steam and Epic Game Store. Other storefronts will be added in the future according to Nvidia. To find out if you own a game that is playable on Geforce Now, check out this link.
As for my impressions of GeForce Now, I’ve used the service in the past and I recently signed up for the Founders tier to see what’s changed. Honestly, it’s gotten better. The delay hardly noticeable, though that varies per your connection. I’ve used this on my main gaming PC, on a Surface Pro 6 (it works great on that) and on an Nvidia Shield TV, all of which were steady. It’s worth mentioning that I tested the Surface on a wireless connection as well. Comparing it to both Google Stadia and Project xCloud, this has them both beat. Of course, that’s my opinion.
Now, there are some downsides, such as the amount of bandwidth the service needs. In the PC app, there are multiple settings for the quality and bandwidth that will be used. Ranging from 4GB per hour with Data Saver, 6GB per hour with Competitive and 10GB per hour with Balanced. There’s also a custom setting that lets you decide the max bit rate, resolution, and framerate. Just having that ability to choose from any of those I’ve mentioned shows how much Nvidia listened to the feedback, as those weren’t always there. There’s also no windowed mode if you use GeForce Now on the PC and have access to a widescreen monitor. Though I can live with that and I’m firmly in the minority there.
Lastly, keep in mind that Nvidia has been testing this since 2015. They were ahead of the curve before Google, Amazon or Microsoft started to even think about cloud gaming as a service. Even before that, they had technology in data centers across the globe, powering other gaming services. Which have been upgraded with RTX Blade servers ahead of GeForce Now going public. What we’re seeing now is a testament to them sticking to this and how far they’ve come in that span of time.
I’m excited to see where they go with this. Also, doesn’t anyone hear that sound? It’s like hundreds of Google Stadia owners cried out at once.