Assuming the technology and promised performance work as advertised, GeForce Now represents the most compelling game streaming service we’ve seen so far.
5 Reasons Why NVIDIA GeForce Now Isn’t Worth Your Money
Thinking about subscribing to NVIDIA’s cloud gaming platform? We encourage you to rethink it, and here’s why.
NVIDIA GeForce Now has been around for a long time. In 2020, the service rolled out of the beta to the full version with a paid subscription. Recently, NVIDIA has doubled prices for new customers.
Unlike Google Stadia, NVIDIA has had plenty of time to tweak its GeForce Now platform since it hit the market very early. However, we still can’t fully recommend it if you’re looking for the perfect PC gaming experience in 2021.
Here are the top five reasons why GeForce Now isn’t 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. Basically, it allows you to rent a remote desktop and use its hardware to play games on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. The service will rely on your internet connection, not your own hardware, to stream games from that computer to the cloud.
Sounds too good to be true, right? You may be wondering why building a gaming PC is?
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 local gaming hardware. In most cases, you’d be better off buying a game console than paying for GeForce Now.
That said, cloud gaming still has a long way to go in terms of visual fidelity and latency. For both of these things to be significantly improved, we may need some significant advances in video codec and broadband technology.
Nvidia GeForce Now
- Impressively stable gameplay.
- It does not require buying new versions of games.
- Expansion to new devices fairly quickly.
- Your ability to play a particular game may be at the mercy of IP license agreements.
- Still limited to 1080p at 60fps
Like Google Stadia, Xbox Gamepass Ultimate for game streaming (formerly xCloud), and other cloud gaming technologies, GeForce Now renders and streams supported PC games from its datacenters to phones, Chromebooks, PCs, and Macs so you can play on devices that you would otherwise not be able to run them on. An added bonus is that you don’t have to deal with system updates or worry about stability.
The service made its debut on the company’s Nvidia Shield streamer long before the transition to the beta for PC, Mac, and Android phones. But 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. This eliminates one of the biggest variables in cloud gaming: wireless latency. Sure, you can connect PCs and Macs over Ethernet, but this can be really a hassle depending on 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 (mostly on Steam) or received for free (mostly through the Epic Games Store), rather than requiring you to purchase a special version of the game (such as Stadia) or stream games from a specific subscription library (e.g xBox Gamepass Ultimate or Sony PlayStation Now).
It is also similar to virtual machine services such as Shadow; they provide an entire, persistent cloud Windows system that can be accessed by phone as well as other devices which means you can basically play any existing Windows game. It’s a more expensive solution, although it offers one advantage that the others don’t: it works on iPhones and iPads as well as all other devices.
You launch the appropriate application for Android, Windows, or Mac OS, find a supported game in your Steam library (or one of several that you got directly from Ubisoft or the Epic Game Store), and start the game. There are also around 90 standard free games. The app connects to the nearest datacenter that has a game rendering engine and sends it to you. Game synchronization and account management are handled by the respective services.
Like all game streaming services, GeForce Now requires a lot of bandwidth and internet speed. Requires a minimum connection of 15Mbps for 720p60 game streaming and 25Mbps for 1080p60 streaming. This means a wired or 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection to the router.
Nvidia GeForce Now compatible devices
Nvidia GeForce Now can be played through Shield TV’s proprietary set-top boxes. You can also get it through the desktop apps for Google PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks.
Any Android device with 2GB of RAM and sports Android 5.0 is compatible, but you’ll need a separate controller.
This also applies to Android TVs that are not Shield TVs, but as the app is currently only in beta, Nvidia does not guarantee the performance or availability of all features.
Only the LG U + UHD TV with Android, only available in Korea, is officially compatible (except Shield).
There is also support for iOS devices via the Safari browser. Just load play.geforcenow.com to the 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 recently been added and pre-orders are now open.
With free membership, you can play any compatible games for up to an hour. You may have to wait in line for a slot on one of the Nvidia machines to become available as paid members have priority.
Paid members, called Priority, get a longer session (up to 6 hours), priority access (hence the name), and games are played using the highest tier 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 upfront to save some cash – this way it costs £ 44.99 / $ 49.99 / € 49.99.