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NVIDIA's GeForce Now game streaming service is finally out of beta

By Koh Wanzi - on 5 Feb 2020, 2:59pm

NVIDIA's GeForce Now game streaming service is finally out of beta

Image Source: NVIDIA

At long last, NVIDIA's GeForce Now game streaming service is no longer in beta. Gamers in North America and Europe can now sign up for the service, which has both a free tier and a US$5/month Founders plan. The free tier will let you play unlimited one-hour free trials, and the best part is that a credit card isn't even required.

On the surface, GeForce Now is very similar to Stadia or even Microsoft's upcoming xCloud. They'll all let you play games on hardware that wouldn't otherwise be powerful enough, so you can stream games from the cloud much like you would stream a show from Netflix or YouTube. However, GeForce Now does things slightly differently – it's based off your existing library of PC games, which means you can play whatever you're playing now on a far wider range of devices. NVIDIA currently supports Steam, the Epic Games store, Battle.net, and Uplay, which pretty much covers most of the major game clients available today.

Image Source: NVIDIA

That said, NVIDIA also offers games outside of this list of launchers, including EA's hit battle royale title Apex Legends.

However, there are still some unfortunate limitations. You won't be able to import your entire game library to GeForce Now, and there are some glaring omissions in the form of titles from major publishers like Capcom, Konami, Remedy, Rockstar, and Square Enix. This means no Monster Hunter World, Grand Theft Auto V, or Red Dead Redemption 2, all of which are very popular games and among the top ten most-played on Steam.

“We’re going to charge 0 percent of their sales, we’re making it easy for them to say yes... but some [publishers] are taking a wait-and-see attitude,” GeForce Now boss Phil Eisler told The Verge.

In addition, NVIDIA doesn't cache every game it supports in its server farms, so you'll have to load them into NVIDIA's servers each time you want to play.

The biggest catch may just be the limits set on your play time. Customers on the free tier can play for an hour at a time, and they're more likely to be put on a waitlist. And while paying customers do get priority access, they're still limited to six hours of play time at a stretch. This may be less of an issue if you mainly use GeForce Now to fill in gaps of time when you don't have access to your main gaming rig, but it's not a great arrangement if GeForce Now is the main thing you use to play games.

"After the current session expires, you will move to the front of the queue for fast access to resume your gaming. There is no limit to how many times you can start a new session in a day," says NVIDIA of Founders plan customers.

At the moment, NVIDIA claims its servers should be able to support over 600,000 players, but it's taking care not to overcrowd them. In fact, it'll be pulling access to the Founders plan once it hits a certain capacity so everyone continues to enjoy a good experience.

GeForce Now will work on Windows laptops, MacBooks, Shield TV, and Android phones, but there's no support for the iPhone or iPad planned yet. It caps out at 1080p60 streaming, so support for 4K or 1080p120 is still missing. Finally, you'll need at least a 15Mbps connection or faster, although 30Mbps is recommended for the best quality.

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