In the world of gaming, all the headlines may be about the rapidly approaching Sony PS5 console. But this week for me there’s been a way more exciting launch, which could revolutionise the gaming market in a much more significant way. I speak, of course, of Nvidia’s spiffy new GeForce Now service.
I can already hear the console crowd rolling their eyes and saying “But the console isn’t even out yet!” but there’s plenty of good reasons why I think this.
Chief of which is that at its heart the PS5 is just a console. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to get excited about: better graphics, ray tracing support and faster loading times. But the limitation of being a console immediately makes its overarching significance smaller in scale. This is because, at the end of the day, it’s still just entertainment hub to download and play games at home on.
GeForce Now, by comparison, is an entirely new platform that changes the way we play games. I’ve said many times before cloud gaming is the future and I’m far from alone in this belief.
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Even Microsoft’s Phil Spencer agrees, having bluntly told reporters this week that the PS5 is not a rival to Xbox, because it doesn’t have a cloud offering like Stadia, GeForce Now or the company’s own Project xCloud.
Think about it. How cool is it that you can play any game you like on any device you like, so long as it has a fast enough internet or data connection?
This is a huge step that means players won’t need to pay for expensive hardware, like a games console, to enjoy triple A gaming. It’ll also be a massive space saver for PC gamers, who are used to having giant rigs clogging up the space under their desk.
Yes, technically Stadia beat Nvidia to the punch. But from what we’ve seen so far GeForce Now is superior in pretty much every way. As well as working on more devices, it’s also all round better value for one key reason: it doesn’t lock you into a proprietary store.
Specifically, it’ll let you play any game you’ve purchased on Steam, Epic Games Store and EA Origin. This means that, unlike Stadia, PC gamers won’t have to repurchase games and will be able to access their library on the move the moment they sign up.
For me this is a huge deal, that gives GeForce Now the potential to completely change the way people play, purchase and even think about games in a way the PS5 can’t. Being blunt: the only question for me is when, not if, cloud gaming will become the norm.