Until recently, Nvidia sold its products indirectly. The Californian founder has distributed its graphics chipsets to graphics card manufacturers (MSI for example). And it’s the latter who’s selling their cards to end users. Until now, The Shield range was an exception to the rule.
This is when GeForce Now came in. 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’ll find The Shield TV, of course, but also Android-based computers and smartphones.
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Launched commercially on February 4, 2020, GeForce Now offers to play a catalog of games installed (and updated in real time) on the company’s servers. The user receives a stream of video from his party. Thanks to this system, not all the power needed to run the most demanding titles comes from the player’s equipment. This means that many of the connected devices are theoretically compatible. The quality of the service (image definition, refresh rate, responsiveness) will depend largely on your connection.
It’s a service that competes head-on with Google’s Stadia, but avoids some of the flaws that testers and players have noticed, such as acquiring a dedicated license for each game, and having to pay to use the service. GeForce Now offers similar experience to PlayStation Now from Sony and Project xCloud from Microsoft, but unlike Microsoft, each player can only access games they own (and those available for free). Other competitors are BlackNut, Shadow and Vortex. The business model is mixed up, with a free offer and a paid offer. Here, we detail all the details.
How much does GeForce Now cost?
The free service provides access to all platform games, such as paid version players. There are, however, three restrictions. First of all, the free version sessions are limited to one hour. The game stops after an hour. You can resume this by logging in again. There is no limit to the number of sessions a day.
The second restriction is that players in the free version must go through a queue to connect to the servers. The queue is longer or shorter depending on the number of players currently in the session and the number of players waiting for their turn. Finally, free version players do not take advantage of ray tracing in compatible games. Note that there is no advertisement available for free version players.
The paid service unlocks or extends some of the restrictions on the free service. First, Ray tracing is enabled. Then the duration of the play sessions is increased to six hours. After six hours, the players are disconnected and have to reconnect to resume the game. Paid version players do not have a queue and are given priority over peak periods.
The subscription is without a commitment of duration. A 90-day trial period is offered to any player wishing to try the paid version services and to test the limits of their Internet connection.
What platforms are compatible with GeForce Now?
The list of compatible platforms includes a few set-top boxes on Android TV (including Nvidia’s Shield TVs), all recent mid-range and high-end Android smartphones, and computers running Windows and macOS. Chromebooks will be compatible sometime in 2020. And the version of the Internet browser is under development to include platforms such as Linux.
IOS devices (iPhone and iPad) and game consoles (PS4, Xbox One, Switch) are not compatible.
Players must, therefore, install client software to connect to the GeForce Now service. The latter, which weighs 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 recommended minimum configuration is much lower than that required by games, since all the computing power is taken care of by Nvidia’s servers. However, some specs are recommended depending on the type of platform used. First, the Internet connection. must exceed 15 Mb / s. Then, the connection from your modem and your device must be good: a WiFi ac 5 GHz connection or an Ethernet cable is recommended.
If you’re on a PC, the minimum configuration is as follows: Windows 7 (64-bit version), 4 GB of RAM, 2 GHz clocked dual-core x86 processor, and DirectX 11 compatible graphics processor.
On Mac, the minimum configuration is macOS 10.10, and a relatively recent setup. The complete list of compatible Macs can be found on official website.
If you’re on Ios, you must have a smartphone or tablet running on Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher and a minimum of 2 GB of RAM. Compatible with Shield TVs (Standard or Pro) launched in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Clearly it is recommended that you use a stick. Most Wireless models are now GeForce compatible. In addition to the Shield Controller, Nvidia lists several brands like Razer, Junglecat or even Steelseries on its web.
What Internet connection is recommended for GeForce Now ?
The recommended connection for making the most of GeForce Now is a 50 Mb / s fiber optic access. This connection allows you to play all Full HD games without slowing down, at 60 frames per second. With this setting, GeForce Now consumes 10 GB of play time every hour.
GeForce Now supports the minimum setting to be HD video (720p) at 60 frames per second. According to Nvidia, that display quality requires a 15 Mb / s connection. Just enjoy a’ good’ ADSL connection. GeForce Now is going to be playable in mobility, thanks to 5 G networks, according to Nvidia.
The GeForce Now client, installed on PC and Mac, includes a tool to test the connection stability and speed to the servers. The tool recommends an optimal adjustment based upon the results at the end of the test. Note that reception quality can be manually adjusted: optimized, cost effective or competitive. You can adjust the quality of the display yourself too.
Finally, according to Nvidia, GeForce Now servers would be able to theoretically broadcast games in 4 K and HDR. But for bandwidth consumption reasons, the setting isn’t activated.
Should you buy the games in the GeForce Now library?
When the player connects to his GeForce Now account and wants to start a game he’s got in his personal toy library, the platform confirms the purchase from the associated store and starts a game as if it were from his Usual Gaming PC.
On Stadia, players are required to purchase a dedicated user license for games that are accessible on the platform, even if they own the same game on another platform. This is not the case with GeForce Now which reuses previously purchased licenses. Please note that GeForce Now allows you to purchase licenses for games you do not own. But even if you cancel your GeForce Now subscription, the game will still be yours. It will be accessible from the store where they made the purchase.
How many games in GeForce Now ?
Hundreds of games from the launch are compatible with the GeForce Now. However, two categories must be distinguished: free-to-play, and popular paid games. GeForce Now has pre-installed around thirty free-to-play players in the first category, including Fortnite, Warframe, World of Tanks or League of Legends.
The service has pre-installed over 300 Premium games in the second category, including The Witcher 3, Wolfenstein Youngblood, Deliver Us the Moon, Destiny 2 or Metro Exodus. Games are regularly added (Nvidia promises new products in the Premium Games category every week). Some titles are very recent, while others are somewhat less recent. It represents all genres.