We’re aware that NVIDIA introduced a “Competitive” mode last year, which reduces input latency by 30%. However, these cut-down numbers are still far from a local gaming rig. A major downside to this low-latency mode is that it lowers the streaming quality to 720p.
5 Reasons Why NVIDIA GeForce Now Isn’t Worth Your Money
Thinking of subscribing to NVIDIA’s cloud gaming platform? We urge you to think again, and here’s why.
NVIDIA GeForce Now has been around for quite a while at this point in time. In 2020, the service left beta for a full release with a paid subscription plan. More recently, NVIDIA doubled the pricing for new customers.
Unlike Google’s Stadia, NVIDIA has had plenty of time to improve its GeForce Now platform since it entered the market way early. However, we still cannot fully recommend it if you’re looking for an ideal PC gaming experience in 2021.
Here are the top five reasons GeForce Now is not worth your hard-earned money.
What Is NVIDIA GeForce Now?
For those who don’t know, GeForce Now is a cloud-based game streaming service developed by NVIDIA. It basically lets you rent a remote desktop and leverage its hardware to play games on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. The service will rely on your internet connection rather than your own hardware to stream games from this cloud computer.
Sounds too good to be true, right? You may wonder, what’s the point of building a gaming PC anymore?
While GeForce Now is a good choice for someone who doesn’t have a powerful PC or uses a MacBook, it’s not a service that aims to replace your local gaming rig. In most cases, you’d be better off buying a gaming console instead of paying for GeForce Now.
Nvidia has Highlights, which can automatically record notable gameplay, and FreeStyle, for applying filters to your games. And Ansel – the high-resolution capture tool in Nvidia’s drivers – will be arriving soon in GeForce Now. However, they’re not available on all games. Highlights, for instance, seems to be added on a case-by-case basis.
Nvidia GeForce Now
- Impressively stable gameplay.
- Doesn’t require that you buy new versions of games.
- Expanding to new devices pretty quickly.
- Your ability to play a specific game may be at the mercy of IP licensing contracts.
- Still limited to 1080p at 60fps
Like Google Stadia, Xbox Gamepass Ultimate game streaming (formerly xCloud) and other cloud-gaming technologies, GeForce Now renders and streams supported PC games from its data centers to phones, Chromebooks, PCs and Macs so you can play on devices that might otherwise not be able to run them. One added benefit is you don’t have to deal with keeping the system updated or worry about stability.
The service debuted on the company’s Nvidia Shield streamer long before it went into beta for PC, Mac and Android phones. But the Shield has one advantage over all the other devices GFN runs on: It’s always connected via a wired line to your modem or router. That eliminates one of the biggest variables for cloud gaming: wireless latency. Sure, you can connect PCs and Macs via Ethernet, but that can be really cumbersome depending upon how your space is laid out.
How GeForce Now works
GFN differs from the competition in that it works with games you’ve already paid for (primarily on Steam) or gotten for free (mostly through the Epic Games Store) rather than requiring you buy a special version of the game (like Stadia) or stream games from a particular subscription library (like xBox Gamepass Ultimate or Sony PlayStation Now).
It’s also similar to virtual machine services like Shadow; they provide you with an entire, persistent Windows system in the cloud that you can access via phone as well as other devices, which means you can essentially play any existing Windows game. That’s a more expensive solution, though it offers one perk the others don’t: It works on iPhones and iPads as well as all the other devices.
You boot up the appropriate app for Android, Windows or Mac OS, find a supported game in your Steam library (or one of a few you’ve gotten directly from Ubisoft or Epic Game Store) and commence play. There are also about 90 standard free-to-play games. The app connects to the closest data center, which hosts the engine to render the games and stream them to you. Gameplay syncing and account management is handled by the respective services.
Before we go into more detail about how you can play the latest AAA-rated games on any PC regardless of specs, let’s first explain what Nvidia’s cloud-based GeForce Now for PC and Mac is.
Nvidia GeForce Now compatible devices
The Nvidia GeForce Now service is playable through the company’s own Shield TV set-top-boxes. It can also be accessed through desktop apps for PC, Mac and Google Chromebooks.
Any Android device with 2GB of RAM and sporting Android 5.0 is compatible, but you will need a separate controller.
That also includes Android TV boxes that aren’t the Shield TV, but as the app is only in beta form at present, Nvidia makes no guarantees on performance or that all functionality will be available.
Only the Korea-only LG U + UHD Android TV box is officially compatible (save for Shield).
There is support for iOS devices too, through the Safari browser. Just load play.geforcenow.com in a new page.
How much does GeForce Now cost?
There are currently two membership options for Nvidia GeForce Now and the best news is that one of them is free. A third plan has been added recently, with pre-orders now open.
Free membership allows you to play any of your compatible games for up to an hour at a time. You might also have to wait in a queue until a slot on one of Nvidia’s machines becomes available as paid members get priority.
Paid members, called Priority, get extended session length (up to 6-hours), priority access (hence the name) and games are played using the highest level of graphics, with RTX cards and ray-tracing where applicable.
Priority membership costs £ 8.99 / $ 8.99 / € 9.99 per month. You can also pay for 6-months in advance to save some cash – it costs £ 44.99 / $ 49.99 / € 49.99 this way.