Following a good few years in beta, GeForce Now has officially launched. As of February 4th, GeForce Now is a fully fledged cloud streaming service with access to upwards of 1000 games using just about any online device.
GeForce Now is available from today on Windows PC, Mac OS, streaming media TVs, and Android mobile devices, with Chromebook support to roll out at some point in Q1 2020.
While the testing period for GeForce Now was 100% free, things are a little different going forward. There will still be a ‘Free’ tier for GeForce Now which provides standard access and a maximum session length of one hour. After the hour’s up you will be able to restart another session and continue. There’s no limit to how many times you want to do this consecutively.
For those who want a more premium experience, there is also a ‘Founders’ version, mimicking the naming for Nvidia’s graphics cards. Founders will set you back $4.99 /£4.99/€5.39 per month and this price is guaranteed for the first 12 months. This includes priority access to servers, an extended six-hour game session length, RTX-powered real-time ray-tracing, and a 90-day free trial. Nvidia has said the price will go up after one year, although the specifics have not yet been disclosed. During the call, Nvidia said it shouldn’t end up any more than double the current $4.99 asking price.
Resolution and frame rate through GeForce Now is currently capped at 1080p/60fps. Nvidia recommends 15 Mb/s download for 720p60 streaming, 30 Mb/s for 1080p/60 and, for the best experience with minimal latency and artifacting - 50 Mb/s.
You can manually set the streaming quality from within the GeForce Now app. Depending on the setting you use, GeForce Now will consume more data per hour. Certainly something to consider if you’ve got a bandwidth cap.
- Balance: 10GB/s - takes full advantage of available bandwidth to deliver the best possible image quality and gameplay
- Data Saver: 4GB/s - minimizes the amount of data used while playing, while still delivering good image quality and gameplay
- Competitive: 6GB/s - optimizes your streaming settings to deliver the lowest possible latency during gameplay
- Custom Bitrate: 5-50GB/s - adjust your streaming settings for a custom experience. Max bit rate, resolution, frame rate, adjust for poor network conditions, and vsync can all be customized.
GeForce Now System Requirements
GeForce Now requires a 15 Mbps internet connection (25 Mbps recommended). We also recommend that you use an Ethernet connection for the best experience. If you connect via Wi-Fi, a 5GHz network is preferred.
- Any Windows PC running Windows 7 (64-bit) or higher, 4GB of system memory, a 2.0GHz dualcore X86 CPU or higher and a GPU that supports DirectX 11
- Any Mac with macOS 10.10 or higher
- Any NVIDIA SHIELD TV (2015, 2017, 2019; Base and Pro models)
- Any Android phone running Android 5.0 (L) or higher and 2GB of system memory
- A Bluetooth gamepad is strongly recommended, including the SHIELD controller, Razer Raiju and Junglecat Mobile, or Steelseries Stratus Duo
The key difference between GeForce Now and competitors like Google Stadia and Project xCloud is that Nvidia is keen for GeForce Now to be a fully open standard rather than the walled garden approach.
On GeForce Now, players will, in theory,l be able to access the library of games they already own, through whichever storefront. You buy a game on Steam, exactly as you do now, and GeForce Now provides the means to stream it on the go to a laptop or other mobile device. Compare this to Stadia, where games must be bought through Stadia and can only be played through Google’s service.
The process behind this is fairly simple. You boot up the GeForce Now application, pick your game, and then GeForce Now will load the required client via a VM to launch the game. If it’s a Steam game, for example, the Steam login window will appear, you input your usual login details and you’ll have access to Steam exactly as if you were running it locally.
Behind the scenes, Nvidia’s bank of server racks have been doubled in recent months to account for a launch surge. There will be ‘global availability’ at launch, although it’s certainly weighted towards the northern hemisphere with key servers in the US, Western Europe, Russia, Japan and Korea.
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 top-tier PC gaming with 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.”
What do you make of Nvidia's latest offering? Could this spell the end for Google Stadia? Will you even make use of GeForce Now? Let us know below!