Nvidia has just pushed its cloud gaming platform GeForce NOW out of beta in a move that may give Google Stadia a dose of cold sweats, as Nvidia’s offering delivers more than a 1000 games to users, many of which will run at high performance using GeForce GPUs.
Nvidia’s GeForce Now essentially involves the company spinning up virtual machines within its cloud infrastructure that replicates the hardware needed to run high performance PC games.
The major difference with what Nvidia is offering here, in comparison to what’s out in the market, is that users of GeForce are accessing their own Steam or Epic Games libraries. They are streaming PC games that they have already purchased on different platforms to a browser or mobile devices.
The system will have two tiers; a free membership in which users can access their game libraries and play for an hour at a time. Or a second option of a ‘Founders’ limited time subscription that gives players priority access to servers and lets them play for up to six hours at a time.
This will be appealing to PC gamers who have older machines that are not capable of running at high-performance. One high-performance capability out of reach for many gamers is ray tracing which is the simulation of realistic lighting effects in a computer-constructed 3D environment. Needless to say this is punishing on GPUs, but Nvidia has stated that: “Founders members will have instant access to RTX games.”
Many users who have tested the service with fast internet connections are posting positive reviews, but it is clear that it is a product just out of beta as one Reddit who has tested the service notes that: “The interface is weird when you try to start the game, for example on steam there’s no special steam interface, it’s just regular steam… but on a server. So I can see people getting confused when Nvidia asks you to “download the game” and then shows the regular steam install process.”
Player Four has Entered the Game with Nvidia GeForce NOW
While Nvidia’s cloud gaming offering is of a different flavour from what’s in the market currently; it is definitely entering into competition with Google Stadia and to a lesser extent Microsoft xCloud and Sony’s PS4 PS Now offering.
Microsoft and Sony had previously declared their intentions to work together to develop ‘cloud solutions’ with Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida commenting last year that: “I believe that our joint development of future cloud solutions will contribute greatly to the advancement of interactive content. Additionally, I hope that in the areas of semiconductors and AI, leveraging each company’s cutting-edge technology in a mutually complementary way will lead to the creation of new value for society.”
At the time this was seen as a reaction to the upcoming release of Google Stadia, however Google is having a rocky start to its Netflix style videogame streaming platform which launched in November of 2019.
A major issue for Stadia users was that high performance capabilities on Google’s end doesn’t do much for dodgy/patchy internet connections. Google didn’t help the situation by launching the platform in a decidedly lacklustre manner, as one Reddit user noted in a post that went viral last week that: “Stadia has officially gone 40 days without a new game announcement/release, feature update, or real community update. It has been out for 69 days. It’s time we demand better.”
That user, in excruciating detail, listed all of the issues that users have with Stadia in its current state such as a lack of iOS compatibility, 4K on browsers and a lack of game announcements. A Stadia Pro subscription will cost £8.99 a month, that doesn’t include the cost of buying games for the platform.
A Google spokesperson popped into the thread to acknowledge everyone’s concerns stating that: “All the concerns you’ve brought to the table are completely valid, and I understand where your frustrations are coming from. Nobody likes to be left in the dark…. I don’t have product updates to share right at this second.”