Nvidia GeForce Now: All you need to know about Nvidia’s cloud-streaming service

Nvidia GeForce Now is a cloud-streaming service that allows you to stream PC games via the cloud, removing the need for high-end hardware to achieve high performance. The only thing you need is a decent internet connection. 

The cloud-streaming service will work on laptops (including Chromebooks and the MacBook Air), select Android smartphones and also the Nvidia Shield TV.

GeForce Now will look to rival both Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud as the best cloud-streaming service. Nvidia’s service also has a unique feature, allowing you to import compatible games from your Steam, Uplay and EA Origin instead of forcing you to start building your library from scratch.

We’ve gone hands-on with GeForce Now and we mightily impressed. Check out our thoughts below, as well as all the other specs and features.

Related: Google Stadia

What is GeForce Now?

Nvidia GeForce Now removes the need of a high-spec console or PC to play all the latest and greatest video games, with all the heavy lifting provided by Nvidia’s servers.

You will need a decent internet connection to stream games via the cloud though, with superior bandwidth providing higher in-game frame rates. Nvidia will also handle all the updates, leaving all those days of waiting for new patches to install a thing of the past.

You won’t be able to play every single PC game with GeForce Now, but the library already boasts over 500 titles and is continuously expanding.

Related: Google Stadia

GeForce Now release date – When will GeForce Now officially launch?

There is no official release date for the GeForce Now, but the service is currently available via a public beta. That said, you may not be able to access it right away, as you need to request code from Nvidia.

Nvidia did say the official launch should be expected “in the coming months”. When asked if that means 2019, Nvidia refused to confirm anything, but hinted that it’s likely. 

When the official launch does arrive, the RTX servers are expected to follow, allowing for ray tracing and DLSS features. Users in Northern California and Germany will benefit from these features first, but the technology will come to the rest of Europe and North America soon after.

Related: Xbox 2 vs Google Stadia

GeForce Now Price – How much does GeForce Now cost?

GeForce Now is currently free via the public beta, but it’s expected that you’ll be need to pay a monthly fee after the official launch.

If Nvidia follows the Google Stadia template, then the bottom tier subscription could well be free, likely restricting you to a Full HD resolution and 60fps frame rate.

When asked whether there will be a free option, similar to what Google Stadia offers with its Full HD gaming tier, Nvidia representatives reiterated they can’t confirm anything, but hinted it’s “not impossible”. 

To upgrade to a 4K resolution and higher frame rate, as well as premium features such as ray tracing, you’ll almost definitely have to pay a monthly fee though. The Stadia Pro subscription costs £8.99 per month, so expect a figure close to that.

GeForce Now Games – Which games are supported?

GeForce Now supports over 500 games, offering a far more comprehensive games library than the likes of Google Stadia.

While it would take absolutely ages to list every single game that’s supported by the cloud streaming service, we’ve picked out the very best on offer:

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • BioShock Infinite
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Cuphead
  • Destiny 2
  • Doom
  • Far Cry 5
  • Fortnite
  • Half-Life 2
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Monster Hunter World
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
  • XCOM 2
  • World of Warcraft Classic

What will GeForce Now work on?

GeForce Now lets you play several ways: on the computer (Windows or macOS) app, the Nvidia Shield TV (likely to include rumoured Nvidia Shield TV 2019and will soon be on Android smartphones too.

LG and Samsung phones were mentioned specifically by Nvidia, but the service is expected to roll out to many, many more after launch. You essentially just need a device that can install the GeForce Now app as well as a recommended internet connection of at least 15mb/s. 

Related: Nvidia Shield TV 2019

GeForce Now Beta – Is it any good?

Nvidia is currently trialling the GeForce Now streaming service in public beta – and anyone can apply. Access to the beta is limited with a round of new admissions seeming to have occurred just yesterday (October 7th).

The GeForce Now Beta has now allowed us to have a crack at home and – so far – our initial positive impressions about the service seem far from a fluke. GeForce Now, even in beta, seems simply remarkable.

We’ve explained elsewhere in this guide how Nvidia GeForce Now works but we can reiterate that it remains super easy to use. You simply search for a game you have previously purchased and, if Nvidia GeForce supports it, you will be shown the game in the program. 

Next, you click the game and Nvidia will show it is setting up the connection – this aspect really emphasises that GeForce Now analyses what your internet connection has to offer in order to give you the best experience.

You’re then invited to log into the library for which you own the game. Do this, click play and then you’re off. Simple.

Beyond the simple setup, the performance is what stands out above all else. I tried out the service at home with a middling to a below-average internet connection on a sub-£600 laptop with run-of-the-mill specs, a system far from intended for gaming.

I booted up Dark Souls 3 on the service. When connecting, GeForce Now warned that due to my connection I could experience some lag and that it would be running at 720p. Such a resolution isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off in terms of visuals, but if GeForce Now is primarily intended for ease-of-use and accessibility. I don’t think it will miff people who want to game on the go or want to avoid forking out for an expensive gaming PC.

Despite Nvidia’s warnings of lag, Dark Souls 3 ran without a hitch. I connected a DualShock 4 controller to my laptop and did not notice any input lag or lag on-screen – it ran flawlessly.

The promise of Nvidia GeForce Now is similar to Google Stadia but – as we’ve mentioned – Nvidia has the benefit of providing access to many games already owned by PC players via popular libraries like Steam, Origin and Epic Store.

It is also worth bearing in mind the service is still in the beta stages. I did not encounter any bugs or major issues and – if the final product refines GeForce Now even further – it’s a very attractive offering. We’ll be testing the service more over the coming days and updating this page accordingly.

Related: Project xCloud

Nvidia GeForce Now

Nvidia GeForce Now on Android Preview – Hands-on at Gamescom 2019

During Gamescom 2019, I got the chance to try out GeForce Now running on mobile. Nvidia representatives gave me a Razer Raiju Mobile controller, which had a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus equipped. To my surprise, Shadow of the Tomb Raider was running on it, and it looked absolutely gorgeous.

It was difficult to comprehend I was actually playing this AAA title – one even certified gaming PCs can struggle with – on a smartphone. Of course, with GeForce Now, the hardware is irrelevant as all the heavy lifting was being done by Nvidia’s servers in Frankfurt via the Wi-Fi connection.

In terms of performance, Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran incredibly smoothly. I saw no frame rate issues, no screen tearing or even texture popping. It was as if I was playing it on my gaming rig at home – just on a smaller screen. I did sense a little input lag though, which was insignificant enough to still be perfectly playable, but it could pose a bigger issue for online multiplayer.

Nvidia did stress the input lag was likely down to the low download speeds of the shaky Gamescom Wi-Fi network, which is a totally plausible explanation. The fact I was streaming Shadow of the Tomb Raider at all using the Gamescom Wi-Fi was a wonder in itself.

Even more mind-bending was the fact ray tracing was in full effect here, as I could immediately see Lara Croft’s reflections in the many puddles streaking across the rain forest floor. So far the feature is only available with expensive RTX graphics cards, so to see it working on an Android smartphone was incredibly surreal.

Nvidia then showed me GeForce Now running on some old laptops, with a 2010 Apple MacBook being the most shocking. Apple computers have never really been able to play AAA video games, but GeForce Now suddenly makes that possible.

I came away extremely impressed with GeForce Now, fantasizing about a future where I could slip a 5G phone out of my pocket and jump straight into a game of the Witcher 3 with no waiting around for downloads or updates.

Most exciting of all is that GeForce Now will work with virtually any video games you’ve already bought on the likes of Steam, Origin or Epic Store, with no additional purchase required besides the subscription – a killer blow to Google Stadia which requires you to amass a new game library from scratch.

Related: What is ray tracing

GeForce Now vs Google Stadia

A key advantage of GeForce Now over Stadia is that it works with games bought from other established online stores – such as Steam, Origin and Epic Store – rather than locking you in to one specific store as Stadia does. 

This not only means you’ll be able to use games that you’ve already bought, but also that only one purchase is required to play games both via the cloud and with your own hardware. 

This also resolves the issue of game ownership, as if Nvidia was to one day close the GeForce Now service, you wouldn’t lose access to all of your purchased games. Google Stadia doesn’t offer such a luxury. 

Nvidia won’t actually store your saved data as Stadia does, with the digital stores providing the cloud save data instead. This means you’ll be able to swap devices, even between cloud gaming and traditional gaming, and carry on where you left off. Of course, each game will have to support cloud saves, but that’s the large majority of titles these days.

While the majority of games you find on Steam, Epic Store, Origin and the like will work with GeForce Now, Nvidia is looking to optimise performance on the service for as many as possible. So far Nvidia claims GeForce Now supports over 500 games – this is a marked difference to Stadia which is building its game portfolio from scratch. 

Meanwhile, GeForce Now looks to offer all the same benefits as Stadia, such as the capability to connect any Bluetooth controller. The Shield, Razer Raiju Mobile and Steelseries Stratus Duo controllers are all confirmed to work with GeForce Now, while the likes of the PS4 DualShock and Xbox One gamepad aren’t officially confirmed, but will almost definitely be compatible. 

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