Several game streaming services have come and gone while Nvidia has been fiddling with its GeForce Now cloud gaming platform. It tried to launch once in 2015, but ended up going back to the drawing board with a new beta program. That program is over now, and the new GeForce Now is available in North America and Europe. Confirming last week’s rumor, this service will start at just $5 per month, and you can play for an hour at a time for free.
The technology behind GeForce Now is similar to Microsoft’s xCloud or Google’s Stadia. Nvidia’s servers render the games and send the video to your devices. That means you can play high-end PC games on a PC with integrated video or a smartphone. The most important requirement is a fast internet connection. Nvidia recommends at least 15Mbps for 720p and 25Mbps for 1080p, both of which are a bit higher than Google’s Stadia recommendations.
Nvidia’s ace in the hole is the game library: You can bring games you already have to GeForce Now from services like Steam, Uplay, and Battle.net. Simply link your profiles, and GeForce Now instantly has copies of your purchased games available to play. Unfortunately, it won’t be all games. GeForce Now supports several hundred titles, including all the big names like Fortnite, StarCraft II, League of Legends, and more.
You can head over to the Nvidia website and sign up for a free account to start playing instantly. The free tier of service comes with several important limitations. Perhaps most importantly, the free service has “standard access” to servers. Paying subscribers won’t have to wait, but free users could be left twiddling their thumbs while they wait for a slot on the server. Your sessions are also limited to one hour. After that, you’ll have to jump into the queue again. Paying customers get longer sessions — Nvidia says it’s currently limited to six hours, but you can start a new session immediately after one ends.
For the launch, Nvidia is offering “Founders” accounts priced at $4.99 per month for 12 months. That comes with three months free. So, you’re looking at $45 for the full year. In addition to the longer sessions and priority access, Founders also get RTX ray-tracing support in games. Nvidia hasn’t clarified how the pricing will change later, but the $5 asking price is half of Google Stadia, and you probably already have games that work on GeForce Now.
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