In a continued evolution of the streaming gaming product previously known as GRID, NVIDIA is taking the wraps off of the final, consumer-ready version of the technology now called GeForce NOW. This streaming gaming service brings games from the cloud to NVIDIA SHIELD devices at up to 1920×1080 resolution and 60 FPS for fluid gameplay. This has been an announcement that we have been expecting for a very long time, with NVIDIA teasing GeForce NOW in the form of GRID private and public betas.
GeForce NOW, which shares a similar goal to services like PlayStation Now and OnLive, plans to stand out through a few key points.
- 1080p 60 FPS Support – Supporting higher resolutions than any other service as well as higher frame rates, the resulting product of GeForce NOW could be better than anything else on market for streaming gaming.
- Affordability – Coming in at a USD price tag of $7.99, NVIDIA believes that with a combination of included, free, games as well as purchase-and-play games offers a great package for a minimal monthly cost.
- Speed of Access – NVIDIA claims that GeForce NOW can start up new games as much as 2x faster than PlayStation Now, with titles like The Witcher 3 loading up and streaming in as little as 30 seconds.
- Global – GeForce NOW will be available in North America, the European Union, Western Europe, Western Russia, and Japan.
Before we talk about the games list, let’s first discuss some of the technical requirements for GeForce NOW. The first, and most important, requirement is a SHIELD device. GeForce NOW will only work with the SHIELD Android TV device or SHIELD Tablet. That will definitely limit the audience for the streaming service, and I am very curious if and when NVIDIA will decide to open this technology and capability to general PC users or other Android/Apple devices. Part of the SHIELD requirement is definitely to promote its own brand, but it might also help gate access to GeForce NOW as the technology ramps up in capacity, etc.
Other than the host device, you’ll also need a speedy broadband network connection. The minimum requirement is 12 Mbps though you will need 20 Mbps of downstream for 720p60 support and 50 Mbps for 1080p60 resolution and frame rate. In terms of latency, you’ll need a 60 ms ping time as a requirement and its going to be recommended you have a 40 ms ping to the nearest NVIDIA server location for the best experience.
All the GeForce NOW servers are based on NVIDIA Kepler GPUs which is what enables the platform to offer up impressive resolutions and image quality settings for a streaming service. Bandwidth and latency are still a concern, of course, but we’ll touch on that aspect of the service when we have more time with it this week or the next.
Finally, let’s talk about the game library. There are ~60 games in the included library including certain games that you can play an unlimited amount of with your $7.99 membership fee. NVIDIA says more games will be added as the service continues.
A much shorter list is the “purchase and play” games; those that you’ll pay for in addition to your monthly membership fee. These games tend to be more modern titles with NVIDIA hopeful for some pending day-and-date releases in the near future. These games will be available to you through GeForce NOW streaming but NVIDIA did mention that “many” of the purchasable games will also come with game keys that can be used to install the game on a local PC as well. In that case, it’s easy to see a value of access to both versions of the title.
|Included Games||Purchase and Play Games|
|Alan Wake||Metro 2033 Redux|
|Alan Wake: American Nightmare||Metro: Last light Redux|
|Astebreed||Resident Evil: Revelations 2|
|Batman: Arkham Asylum||Saints Row IV|
|Batman: Arkham City||Saints Row: Gat out of Hell|
|Batman: Arkham Origins||The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt|
|Bionic Commando||Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power|
|BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger|
|Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons|
|Dead Island: Riptide|
|Dead Rising 2|
|Devil May Cry 4|
|Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara|
|Gas Guzzlers: Extreme|
|Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams|
|Guilty Gear X2|
|LEGO Batman 2 DC Super Heroes|
|LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4|
|LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7|
|LEGO Marvel Super Heroes|
|LEGO Movie: The Videogame|
|LEGO The Lord of the Rings|
|MX vs ATV Reflex|
|Orcs Must Die!|
|PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate|
|Race Driver Grid|
|Red Faction Guerrilla|
|Red Faction: Armageddon|
|Risen 2 Dark Waters|
|Saints Row 3|
|Street Fighter X Tekken|
|The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief|
|The Vanishing of Ethan Carter|
|The Walking Dead: Season 1|
|The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings|
|Ultra Street Fighter IV|
It should be noted though, that even though you might be able to stream the game on GeForce NOW as well install it on a local PC, your save game data is NOT shared between them.
That list of just 7 games in the purchase and play category is definitely lacking, with the only title to pique my interested being The Witcher 3. The rest are just a little long in the tooth. There are still plenty of gamers that haven’t been graced by Saint’s Row IV or Metro 2033, I’m sure, and those users might find the value and convenience of GeForce NOW the perfect way to do so.
So where does this leave me in terms of the streaming service that is GeForce NOW? I have been using the service for a couple of days but I have to wait another day or so before I can share my input in that regard. My opinion is that streaming gaming will continue to be a niche for users that are budget conscious and/or focus on that convenience factor above all else. GeForce NOW might be the best streaming gaming service on the market, but that doesn’t mean I would ever consider trading in my PC or game consoles for it. But I don’t think that is what NVIDIA has in mind for it either.
The $7.99/mo price tag is a compelling cost for the features and games offered in the included library, though I definitely think NVIDIA is costing themselves a considerable audience by forcing this to be a SHIELD-only product. Only time will tell if there are enough SHIELDs in the market to support GeForce NOW or if GeForce NOW will be able to sell SHIELD to consumers.
Stay tuned for more!