GeForce Now Will Let You Stream Games By the Hour
You might have some ultraportable laptop or entry-level MacBook, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the pleasure of a triple-A video game. Nvidia’s game streaming service, GeForce Now, is already on its Shield set-top box but you can try it out on your Mac or PC and get started streaming games from the cloud, all without owning an expensive PC powerhouse. Just be prepared to pay extra if you’re serious about playing at all hours of the day.
GeForce Now’s previously announced pricing structure is pretty straightforward, but it will get expensive if you’re a regular binger. Cnet has a quick calculation based on the average playtime in the survival game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. With an average playtime of around 12 hours every two weeks (adding up to 325 hours per year), and a cost of $25 for every 20 hours of streaming, GeForce Now customers would pay $410 for the privilege of playing PubG on their underpowered laptops.
That annual cost might make the idea of buying your own halfway-decent gaming PC a bit easier to stomach. Needless to say, GeForce Now and RPGs don’t mix if you’re on a budget, and casual gamers will find themselves shelling out even more just to buy the games on the service.
How GeForce Now Works
Instead of offering a library of games for you to stream a la PlayStation Now, GeForce Now acts as the muscle that powers the games you already own. There are a few free-to-play games available but, for the most part, you’ll need to own the games you want to play through Steam, Battle.net, or Uplay. Your game must also be supported by GeForce Now, so check to see if your favorite titles are available before you decide this is the streaming service for you. (And during the beta, you’ll be limited to streaming games four hours at a time.)
You’ll need a pretty fast Internet connection for the best experience on GeForce Now, which might be the service’s biggest hurdle. The 25Mbps minimum requirement is enough to stream games, but Nvidia recommends a 50Mbps connection, along with either an Ethernet connection to your device or a wireless router supporting the 5GHz band. If your connection is fast enough, you’ll be able to stream games at increased frame rates (up to 120 frames per second) using GeForce Now’s Ultra Streaming Mode.
As it stands, GeForce Now is more suited to gamers with a second, less-powerful computer they want to play games on, rather than a casual gamer with only one computer. Since the service streams games you already own, you’re not likely to have a large library if you don’t have a computer powerful enough to play the games GeForce Now lets you stream.
You can sign up for the Nvidia GeForce Now beta and wait until you receive an invite. In the meantime, you can prep for your eventual invite by downloading the GeForce Now app for either PC or Mac at the bottom of Nvidia’s FAQ page.