Nvidia Cloud Gaming Service GeForce Now Is Live For All
Nvidia has officially unveiled and launched a new version of GeForce Now, its game streaming platform. The service has been in closed beta since 2015 and it’s now open to the public with two different subscription models, one free and one paid at $4.99 USD per month. NVIDIA GeForce NOW game streaming service is now available for all, meaning that it is no longer relegated to a select few that were accepted in waves as part of the early beta program. With this announcement, anyone can now join in with the service that allows you to bring the power of PC gaming to just about any modern computing platform including Macs, Smart TVs, the SHIELD TV, and Android phones.
According to Nvidia, there are a few system requirements to at least run GeForce Now, such an internet connection of at least 15 Mbps, though Nvidia recommends 25 Mbps or higher. All other requirements are detailed below:
- PC: Windows 7 (64-bit) or better, 4GB of RAM and a 2.0GHz dual-core CPU or higher, and a DirectX 11 video card
- Mac: macOS 10.10
- Nvidia Shield TV: Base and Pro models (2015 and on)
- Mobile: devices with Android 5.0 or higher can run the app
Free Vs. Founders Subscriptions
Anyone can sign up for GeForce Now for free and start playing as long as they meet the system requirements. With a free membership, you can play games up to one-hour per session. You will then need to jump back in once your time runs out, meaning that if there is a queue to connect to servers, there’s a possibility that you’ll have to wait.
However, the Founders membership comes with a few perks. You’ll be able to play up to six hours per session and get priority access to GeForce Now servers, essentially skipping a line for server access if there is one. You also get access to ray tracing hardware through the cloud allowing you to turn on RTX features in games that have them, like Metro Exodus.
If you sign up for the Founders membership, you’ll have to pay $4.99 USD per month, which is its price for the next 12 months there’s no annual commitment required, however. Additionally, Nvidia currently offers the first three months of a Founders membership for free.
Right now, GeForce Now can play games up to 1080p resolution and up to 60 frames per second. Since it’s running PC games, you’ll have to be mindful of graphics settings, but Nvidia’s servers should be powerful enough to handle the games it supports. While you can customize your stream quality, three presets are available: Balanced, Data Saver, and Competitive. Data consumption for Balanced is said to consume around 10 GB of data per hour of gameplay, while Data Saver uses about 4 GB per gameplay hour and Competitive is at around 6 GB per hour. Customization options include max bit rate, resolution, frame rate (60 FPS or 30 FPS), dynamic settings for network conditions, and VSync.
GeForce NOW operates a little differently from services like Google Stadia, in that it allows you to stream games you already own rather than solely offering up a revolving library of game content. That way you can always play whatever you want, whenever you want, and not have to worry about a popular game being removed from the service due to licensing issues.
GeForce NOW works across multiple digital storefronts as well, meaning that you can stream game purchases that you’ve made from Steam or the Epic Games Store (among others). “With GeForce NOW, you can keep playing the games you already own and continue building libraries from the same stores you already use every day,” writes NVIDIA. “That’s what it means to be an open platform. If you buy it, you own it. If you already own it, play it. Your purchases are always yours.”
NVIDIA says that it’s ready to push GeForce NOW out to the masses today after gaining enough data from more than 300,000 beta testers that streamed a cumulative 70 million hours of gameplay. And using that feedback, NVIDIA is launching the public version of GeForce NOW in two tiers. There will be a free tier that with standard access that allows you 1-hour gaming sessions before you’ll have to wait in the queue again.
Hardware-wise, Nvidia is using various Tesla graphics cards to power the games, including the GeForce RTX T10-8 and the Tesla P40. This allows users with low-end laptops or Chromebooks to test out ray tracing in action.
The way Nvidia puts it, the chief driver behind this service is those with decent net connections but under-powered laptops. Around 50% of those who played during the beta had weak hardware which was incapable of playing the latest games at stable frame rates. If you’re wondering what the big ‘get’ is here for Nvidia, it claims “during the beta, over 80% of members instantly upgraded from systems without GeForce GPUs to the latest PC graphics.”