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Ctrl+Alt+Del: GeForce Now won’t go mainstream if price hikes continue

OPINION: This week, GeForce Now received an unwelcome price hike in Europe and Canada. If you’re an owner of other subscription services – and, in this modern world, plenty are – you’ll be familiar with the practice. Here’s hoping Nvidia doesn’t stick with this formula.

The game streaming service world isn’t a plentiful one, with Google Stadia going the way of the dodo recently. Stadia left Xbox Cloud Streaming and Nvidia GeForce Now to lead the pack.

With Google’s option out of the way, Nvidia and Xbox can push forward even further, and both have invested in adding more and more games to the service as well as improving performance. And, I get it, they’ve got to make a return, and that’s why a GeForce Now price hike makes a lot of sense.

But, if the goal remains to make gaming more accessible, continuous price hikes are going to put it out of reach.

Again, don’t get me wrong, Nvidia GeForce Now is great. Even at its launch, when you could expect it to be rather janky, it was the game streaming service that most impressed me, starting off ahead of Xbox and Google. GeForce Now also, of course, offers a lot of performance and choice. It gives you access to an ever-growing range of games across services like Steam, Epic Games Store, Ubisoft Connect and, even, Xbox Game Pass.

In terms of performance, earlier this year Nvidia boosted the power of the Ultimate tier by adding RTX 4080 graphics chips to the back-end. It’s hard to fault Nvidia in terms of keeping GeForce Now modern and how it’s going about making the case for boosted prices. With Ultimate, you get up to 4K resolution and 120fps gameplay. On the lower Priority tier, it’s up to 1080p and 60fps. Then, with the free option, uses a “basic rig” and is limited to one hour of play.

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This price rise isn’t extortionate either, with the Ultimate tier rising from £17.99 to £19.99 and the Priority tier from £8.99 to £9.99 from November 1st. In terms of a yearly bump, that’s up to £99.99 from £89.99 and £49.99 from £45.99 respectively.

This is just the start

So, I think what Nvidia is offering is a strong package and I don’t think this current price rise is unfairly high. What’s the issue, then? Well, it feels like this is just the start. As I mentioned in the opening, look at Netflix and Disney Plus, this is the formula. Grab users with an appealing offering and get them hooked, then steadily raise the price.

Nvidia will continue to argue that its investment will warrant the rise but what of those who simply can’t afford it, especially in a world that’s in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis? Streaming has always been marketed as a way to offer great content to the masses, and it’s especially appealing on the PC gaming side of things where native gaming can cost you hundreds of pounds to keep up with – and that’s forgetting the huge initial investment.

And, I’m not just talking about “fairness” as Nvidia is a business and, of course, it is going to do what’s best there. But, I think, in terms of gaining further traction with a wider audience, Nvidia should invest in keeping its service at a reasonable price. Whether that is attempting to keep the price of its Priority tier as low as possible or improving its free tier as the technology powering that becomes cheaper to produce, as a 1-hour session really means it’s not much more than a taster.

If PC game streaming is going to skyrocket in popularity for Nvidia then it needs to consider how it can make its offering truly unmissable for an audience that wouldn’t necessarily have looked to PC gaming as a viable option before. If the price continues to go up and up and up, that is not going to happen.

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