NVIDIA’s finally released GeForce Now, the company’s foray into streaming gaming. While we’ve seen a number of services over the years promising excellent service, NVIDIA’s been working on it quietly for years. Last year it went into beta, promising high-end gaming over a reasonable network connection.
My experience with streaming gaming is that while it works, your basic ping and lag times are always going to be noticeable. Some games you can survive through (think slower-paced RPGs, adventures, and plenty of arcade-style games). Fast-paced shooters are always problematic because even if you don’t feel or experience lag yourself, no connection is static. I even won a Quake tournament on OnLive back in 2010 (for a measly $25), and that was thanks in part to an excellent university connection…and knowing everyone else was likely on a worse network.
The major difference between GeForce Now and other services is that for $5 per month you can stream games you already own rather than gaining access to new titles or a select list. So you’re paying to rent non-local hardware to play your games. That’s not so bad, though the $5 price tag makes sense if you’re regularly traveling and don’t want to lug around a gaming laptop for on-the-road play.
NVIDIA also hasn’t formally released a complete list of games on the service, though you can manually search for them. The cool part is that there is a free tier, which limits players to one hour of play at a time and requires waiting in the queue for open servers. For anyone interested in trying out the service, NVIDIA is offering 90-days free for the paid tier. There’s no word how long that promotion will last.