On February 4, 2020, Nvidia formalized the launch of the final version of GeForce Now, its game streaming service. With 300 compatible games from launch, it has two access formulas: a first free, which is not so restrictive, and a second paid sold 5.49 euros per month for one year.
Until very recently, Nvidia sold its products on an indirect circuit. The Californian founder distributed its graphics chipsets to graphics card manufacturers (MSI for example). And it is the latter who market their cards to end users. The Shield range was until now an exception that proves the rule.
GeForce Now is another. In beta since the beginning of 2018, GeForce Now is a streaming game service (or “Cloud Gaming”) that uses the cloud to play games on any compatible platform. Among these, you will find the Shield TV, of course, but also Android computers and smartphones.
Commercially launched on February 4, 2020, GeForce Now offers to play a catalog of games installed (and updated in real time) on the firm’s servers. The user receives a video stream of his game. Thanks to this system, all the power needed to run the most demanding titles does not come from the player’s equipment. Which means that many connected devices are, theoretically, compatible. The quality of the service (image definition, refresh rate, responsiveness) will largely depend on your connection.
It is a service that competes head-on with Stadia from Google, but which avoids certain flaws noted by testers and players, such as the acquisition of a dedicated license for each game, and the obligation to pay to take advantage of the service. GeForce Now offers a similar experience to PlayStation Now at Sony and Project xCloud at Microsoft, but unlike the latter, each player can only access the games they own (and those accessible for free). Other competitors include BlackNut, Shadow, and Vortex. The economic model is mixed, with a free offer and a paid offer. We break down all the details here.
What is the price of GeForce Now?
The GeForce Now service is available in two offers: one free and one paid. The latter is sold for 9.99 euros per month, or 49.99 euros for 6 months. If you want to take advantage of all the power of the RTX 3080, it will cost €19.99. A novelty for 2022, since this offer was formerly only available for 6 months, up to €99.99.
The free service allows access to all the games on the platform, like the players of the paid version. However, there are three restrictions. First of all, free version sessions are limited to one hour. After an hour, the game ends. It is possible to resume it by logging in again. There is no limit to the number of sessions per day.
Second limitation, players of the free version must go through a queue to connect to servers. This queue is longer or shorter depending on the number of players currently in a session and players waiting their turn. Finally, free version players do not benefit from ray tracing in compatible ones. Note that there is no advertisement displayed for players of the free version.
The paid service unlocks or extends some of the restrictions of the free service. First, ray tracing is enabled. Next the duration of the game sessions increases to six hours. After six hours, players are disconnected and must reconnect to resume play. Players of the paid version only have no queue and have priority in busy periods.
The subscription is without commitment of duration. A 90-day trial period is offered to each player who wishes to try the services of the paid version and test the limits of their Internet connection.
What platforms does GeForce Now support?
GeForce Now is compatible with many platforms. Theoretically, it is compatible with any system that connects to the Internet, supports Bluetooth gamepads and plays videos in H264 (and soon H265) format. However, at first, client software is required to connect to servers, limiting the list of compatibilities.
The list of compatible platforms includes some living room decoders under Android TV (including Nvidia’s Shield TVs), all recent mid-range and high-end Android smartphones, and computers running Windows and macOS. In early 2022, Samsung announced that its future TVs will also offer the cloud gaming service on their interface. The firm is following in the footsteps of LG, which has been doing the same since 2021.
Chromebooks are compatible since the year 2020. A version for Internet browser is also available on Chrome and Edge, which supports games in 1440p and 120 FPS since summer 2022.
iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) as well as game consoles (PS4, Xbox One, Switch) are not compatible.
To connect to the GeForce Now service, players must therefore install client software. The latter, which weighs around a hundred megabytes on Mac and PC, allows you to browse the game library, connect to an external online store (such as Steam) and register with your Nvidia GeForce Now credentials.
What is the minimum recommended configuration?
The minimum recommended configuration is much lower than that required by the games, since all the computing power is supported by Nvidia’s servers. However, some prerequisites are recommended depending on the type of platform used. First, the Internet connection. It must be at least 15 Mb/s. Then, the connection from your modem and your device should be good: ac 5 GHz WiFi connection or Ethernet cable is recommended.
If you are on PC, the minimum configuration is as follows: Windows 7 (64-bit version)4 GB of RAM, a dual-core x86 processor clocked at 2 GHz and a DirectX 11 compatible graphics processor. If you are on Mac, the minimum configuration is macOS 10.10 and a relatively recent configuration. The complete list of compatible Macs is available on the official website.
If you are on Android, the smartphone or tablet must be running on Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher and have at least 2 GB of RAM. Shield TVs (standard or Pro) released in 2015, 2017 and 2019 are compatible. The use of a joystick is obviously recommended. Many wireless models are compatible with GeForce Now. In addition to the Shield Controller, Nvidia lists some on its site from brands such as Razer, Junglecat or Steelseries.
What internet connection is recommended to play GeForce Now?
The recommended connection to take advantage of GeForce Now is fiber optic access whose speed is 50 Mb/s. This connection allows you to play all games in Full HD at 60 frames per second without lag. With this setting, GeForce Now consumes 10 GB every hour of play.
The minimum setting supported by GeForce Now is a video stream in HD (720p) at 60 frames per second. According to Nvidia, this display quality requires a 15 Mb/s connection. A “good” ADSL connection is enough to enjoy it. According to Nvidia, GeForce Now will be playable on the move thanks to 5G networks.
The GeForce Now client, which can be installed on PC and Mac, includes a tool to test the stability and throughput of the connection to the servers. At the end of the test, the tool recommends an optimal adjustment according to the results. Note that it is possible to manually adjust the reception quality: optimized, economical or competitive. It is also possible to adjust the display quality yourself.
Finally, the GeForce Now servers would theoretically be able to broadcast the games in 4K and HDR, according to Nvidia. But the setting is not enabled due to bandwidth consumption.
Do you have to buy the games present in the GeForce Now library?
There are two types of games accessible on GeForce Now: free-to-play titlesaccessible free of charge , and paid titles. These require that the player owns an operating license. The latter may have been purchased from one of the compatible stores: Steam, Epic Game Store, Uplay or Battle.net.
When the player connects to his GeForce Now account and wishes to launch a game that he has in his personal toy library, the platform confirms the purchase from the associated store and launches a game as if it were from his Usual gaming PC.
On Stadia, players must purchase a dedicated operating license for games accessible on the platform, even if they own the same game on a different platform. This is not the case with GeForce Now which reuses the licenses already purchased previously. Note that you can buy licenses for games that you don’t own through GeForce Now. But the game will continue to be yours, even if you cancel your GeForce Now subscription. It will be accessible from the store where the purchase was made.
How many games compatible with GeForce Now?
Hundreds of games are compatible with GeForce Now at launch. However, we must distinguish between two categories: free-to-play and popular paid games. In the first category, GeForce Now has around thirty pre-installed free-to-play gamesincluding Fortnite, Warframe, World of Tanks and League of Legends.
In the second category, service counts more than 300 pre-installed premium games, including The Witcher 3, Wolfenstein Youngblood, Deliver Us the Moon, Destiny 2 or even Metro Exodus. Games will be added regularly (Nvidia promises new games every week in the premium games category). Some titles are very recent, while others are a little less so. All genres are represented.