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Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Nvidia GeForce Now isn’t ready to replace a gaming PC

OPINION: Nvidia has announced it will be launching a new tier for its cloud-streaming GeForce Now service, which will apparently provide the equivalent performance of an RTX 3080

That’s an impressive feat, and yet another sign that Nvidia is really serious about gaming via the cloud. Yet, I’m still not convinced GeForce Now is ready to replace your gaming PC. 

From my experience, the stream quality is great if you’ve got a fast enough internet connection, and the capability to play games in 1440p at 120fps on the likes of a MacBook Air, tablet or smartphone is undeniably appealing. 

However, GeForce Now is arguably lacking in the most important area: games. Nvidia has done an admirable job of improving game support in the last few years, with 1100 games now playable via GeForce Now, which has no doubt been helped by deals with the likes of Epic Games Store and Ubisoft Connect. 

Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood is missing from GeForce Now

But GeForce Now is still struggling to offer support for some of the biggest games of 2021. Resident Evil Village, Back 4 Blood, FIFA 22 and Deathloop are all missing, and while the latter is complicated further by Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Bethesda Softworks, it still proves to be another incentive to buy your own physical gaming rig rather than subscribing to GeForce Now. 

It’s not just new games that are inaccessible either. The Total War and Civilization games aren’t available, and neither are the likes of Borderlands, Call of Duty or Dark Souls. 

With so many popular game series absent from GeForce Now, I’m struggling to see it as a viable alternative to owning your own gaming PC. Instead, I think the cloud-streaming service is best used by existing PC gamers who want to be able to keep playing games when they’re away from their rig, whether that’s in a hotel, office or over at the family’s house for the Christmas break. 

But with Nvidia launching the RTX 3080 tier for GeForce Now, which costs a whopping £89.99 per six months, Nvidia still believes it can replace your gaming rig despite the limitations of game support.

Of course, this issue isn’t unique to GeForce Now. Xbox Game Pass may feature first-party games such as Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5 and Gears at launch, but there are numerous other third-party games missing. It, too, is far from ready to replace your Xbox Series X

But Microsoft clearly doesn’t want Game Pass to replace your console. Instead, it’s an extended option for the ecosystem that enables you to continue playing games when you’re away from your console. Plus, you’re getting a lot of games bundled in, arguably providing far greater value than what GeForce Now currently offers. 

Halo Infinite
Xbox Game Pass offers games such as Halo Infinite at launch

So what’s the solution for GeForce Now? Honestly, I’m not sure. Getting licenses from other game publishers is always going to be an uphill battle, especially when the likes of Xbox Game Pass may be offering lucrative exclusivity deals.

Maybe Nvidia could copy the Game Pass template by offering its own game library as part of the subscription costs, similar to how the likes of Prime Video and Now challenged Netflix. Or maybe Nvidia doesn’t need to challenge Game Pass at all, and can simply rely on the niche market willing to spend big bucks on a cloud-streaming service with 1440p and 120fps support, despite already owning a gaming PC or console. 

Either way, it’s going to be an interesting few years for Nvidia’s GeForce Now. It’s important to remember that this technology is still in its infancy, and has a ridiculous amount of potential, so I’m certainly not ruling GeForce Now out as a major success story – I just think Nvidia needs to change tactics in order to convince us that it truly is a worthy replacement for our gaming PC. 

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly computing-focussed opinion column where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon. 

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