Nvidia has finally brought its MacOS game streaming service to Europe and, best of all, it’s free.
GeForce Now, Nvidia’s effort to bring Full HD gaming to Mac users who previously haven’t had many gaming options, has arrived in Europe as part of the service’s extended open beta period.
First announced in January and launched in the US shortly after, GeForce Now is a game streaming service that lets you play games from your Steam or Battle.net library at high graphics settings without the need for a hi-spec gaming PC.
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The games are streamed from the equivalent of a GTX 1080-powered PC that’s “in the cloud” using an efficient streaming video codec that’s intended to minimise lag and give as close to a PC-like experience you can get. Servers are located in Frankfurt and London, so wherever you find yourself, you’ll likely find yourself within a lag-free-ish distance of your nearest GeForce Now machine.
Not convinced? There’s no harm in trying it out, since it’s free right now until the end of the year at least, and possibly longer.
GeForce Now has changed rather a lot since it was announced. In January, the intention was to charge by the hour, with different pricing depending on how good your in-the-cloud gaming PC was. This was confusing at the very least, and it also looked rather expensive at $25 for just 10 hours of gametime, especially when you factored in the cost of actually buying the games. The company hasn’t yet announced what pricing structure it will end up using.
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Not all games will work with the service, and different titles can be found in three distinct categories: Won’t Work, Supported and Optimised (this is our naming convention, not Nvidia’s). Optimised games are being added at a fair rate, and are effectively guaranteed to work with no technical hiccups. These are the games Nvidia will be promting most heavily, and includes the likes of The Witcher 3, F1 2017, Civ, Fallout 4 and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. Supported titles are games that you’re permitted to run, but you’ll need to change graphics settings yourselves in order to get the best out of it. These include Project CARS 2 and Football Manager 2017. Won’t Work speaks for itself.
You can see the full list of games here.
More questions? Here’s some more information based on what we’ve been told by Nvidia representatives and from our own experience.
Isn’t this the same as Nvidia Shield GeForce Now? Nope. That’s a separate product with the same name costing £8 a month. Go figure. Shield GeForce Now is good, though.
How much latency is expected? 15ms is what Nvidia is aiming for in ideal conditions.
What does that feel like? It’s noticeable but by no means awful. In fact, we’d quite happily sit down with a single-player game and play over GeForce Now. In our most recent demo, Nvidia hooked us up with a remote copy of the massive multi-player PUBG. We were even able to rack up some road kill, but it’s highly unlikely we’d have managed a “Chicken Dinner” with the lag.
Quality is relatively good, although there were noticeable jaggies on distant objects. Very impressive for a remote stream, though.
What’s the recommended internet connection speed? 50Mbps, with a minimum of 25Mbps.
Is there game capture support? No.
Does it support surround sound? No.
Does it stream beyond 1080p? No.
Windows? Not yet. Join the waiting list?
How does it handle the differences between Mac and Windows keyboards? Your keyboard is read as a Windows keyboard unless the game is compatible with MacOS. Each game will be vetted for this before being launched onto the service.
Will it support controllers? Yes, but only to the extent that MacOS supports controllers. In other words: not particularly well. Check the minimum specs page for more information.
Who is it for? People who have fallen out of touch with gaming hardware but still want to play a AAA title every now and then. Or people who have a gaming rig at home but want to play games while away from home on their MacBook.
Game saves? Yes. If your game supports the Steam Cloud, GeForce now will always stay in sync.
Which devices support it? Right now, MacBook devices up to eight years old.