Nvidia reveals GeForce Now game streaming service

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 5, 2017
Updated • May 22, 2018

Nvidia revealed the game streaming service GeForce Now for Mac and PC yesterday at the company's CES 2017 keynote event.

GeForce Now is a game streaming service that works similar to the service that Nvidia Shield users can use already.

The core idea behind the service is to move the computing power to the cloud so that PCs and Macs without dedicated video card can play the latest and most demanding games.

Now you can transform your Mac or PC into a powerful NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 gaming machine with easy access to the latest PC games. Connect to top digital stores like Steam, Uplay, GOG, Battle.net, and Origin to play your games. It’s that easy.

A relatively fast Internet connection is required however to take advantage of GeForce Now. Nvidia states that GeForce Now requires an Internet connection with at least 25 Mbps.

Another limitation, at least for the time being, is that only residents of the United States may apply for early access to the service.

How it works

GeForce Now uses a different system than traditional game streaming services. The service is more a high powered gaming rig in the cloud than an all-in-one service.

It does not ship with any games that you get when you become a member, but lets you access the catalogs of gaming platforms such as Steam or Origin.

This means that you need to purchase the games on these platforms, or alreadyown them, to stream them using GeForce Now.

GeForce Now is more flexible than existing game streaming services because of this. Users have more games they can choose from thanks to support for several gaming platforms. It is unclear right now whether gamers will be able to play games they already purchased on one of the supported platforms, but it seems likely that this will be the case.

One benefit of this approach is that games may be played that are not yet available on a platform. Nvidia showcased the latest Tomb Raider game on a Mac for instance during the event; the game is not yet available for Macs.

While that is mostly beneficial for Mac users, as they may play games only released for Windows on their devices, it may also be beneficial to Windows users who run older operating systems that games may no longer support officially.

The main downside to GeForce Now is price. Nvidia wants $25 for 20 hours of play. Considering that games need to be purchased on top of this, it is a rather expensive affair.

You need to add latency to this, as input is delayed due to the streaming nature of the service.

Depending on how often you use the service, you could be better off buying a gaming PC or a video console instead.

Now You: What's your opinion on GeForce Now?

Nvidia reveals GeForce Now game streaming service
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Nvidia reveals GeForce Now game streaming service
Nvidia revealed the game streaming service GeForce Now for Mac and PC yesterday at the company's CES 2017 keynote event.
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  1. David said on January 8, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    I expect they’ve priced it high so that they can limit the number of players during the early stages, and get market feedback on the price in advance of a second headline when they drop the price..

  2. JohnMWhite said on January 5, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    The price is simply insane. Within a month of moderate gaming you could have paid for a reasonable video card for your PC anyway.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Well, a couple of months probably, but at $1.25 per hour plus the price of the games, this is surely going to get costly if you play an hour or two per day on average.

      At one hour of gaming per day on average, you end up paying $456 for the service alone plus the games of course. At 2 hours, that is more than $900.

      1. Tyson said on January 5, 2017 at 7:02 pm

        I’m not sure people interested will think that way. It’s more like, I want to play this game, but not to the point of buying hardware for it, which would force me to buy more games to justify my investment. One needs about 40 hours to thoroughly play this game. So I’ll have to pay $50 plus the game price to live this “cultural experience”, then I’m done with this service for the time being.

        From NVidia’s point of view, providing an interactive streaming game service is a costly initiative and the market isn’t there, so I can see why it is so expensive. I guess they think it’s potentially “the future”, and they want to be an early player. I don’t know if they are right or wrong.

  3. Tyson said on January 5, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    With all the money they ask, they better not record all their customers’ input data. I bet they’ll try if the slightest breeze makes them think they’ll get away with it.

    1. AAA said on January 8, 2017 at 1:55 am

      Hehe. Too late! nVIDIA has new telemetry servers just like Microsoft. The new GeForce app does steal a lot of info actually. I used the app to apply optimum game settings and record the screen sometimes via ShadowPlay, but now I have uninstalled the whole bloatware all together; keeping only the main nVIDIA driver, Sound, Miracast and PhysX drivers only.

      Also, what’s with everyone wanting to use the phone number as the primary_key? Most signup pages now have the requirement to fill in your phone number, then next thing you know, you’re getting calls from everywhere around the world. Pisses me off!

  4. Tom Hawack said on January 5, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    I understand a passion has (almost) no price and that gamers will often pay for power in the same way space agencies pay and require highly sophisticated processing to send a satellite to Jupiter or a man to the moon (not to mention Mars).

    I’m not a gamer (who cares?) and I remain stunned (though I understand passion) when I see wallets unfolding for games, when so much attention is put on the cpu for… games.

    Now that I’ve stated my feelings, let the race start. At your marks. What will it be, boom-boom or vroorm-vroom?
    I prefer playing chess with a human being and a cup of tea. Old fashioned way. Perhaps am I missing a great deal of thrill.

    1. Tyson said on January 5, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Are you sure you understand “passion”, because it seems to me that you are ranking people’s interests arbitrarily. Video games, literature, cinema, chess, all fit into the silent kind of leisure/interest. Some are passive (literature, cinema), some are active (video games, chess). Other interests are the social kind: Hanging out in bars, in night clubs, playing football or whatever.

      Not all interests need to exert the mind. Exerting the body, forming bonds with people, populating one’s inner world, resting, all of these are necessary, and all of these have value to us. Money is the way we rate things in this world, so of course people are ready to use money to fulfil one of their necessities.

      I don’t see a need to rank leisures and interests except on one scale: The good or bad it does in the world. For instance, helping people in trouble get their shit together is an interest that is superior to reading books, and chain-fucking people without care regarding the impact of your behaviour on their life or psyche is inferior to playing football. But we can’t ask people to only do admirable things and never any mistake, and in particular rating neutral interests like literature or football or video games makes no sense to me.

      Just some cents I had on this.

      1. Tom Hawack said on January 5, 2017 at 8:29 pm

        @Tyson, passion is addiction, otherwise its only interest.

        You seem to consider that I’d have a lack of respect for the video medium, you even write it. Maybe are you interpreting what I haven’t wrote, nor suggested, when in fact I’ve expressed my distinction of personal preferences with those of others in a way which seems to me clear.

        Passion was referred to when the idea was to consider the price of this ‘GeForce Now game streaming service’ and the fact that, to pay what seems a rather high price, passion could be the explanation. An interest for video games is not, from my point of view, relevant of passion as such, and you won’t find me saying so.

        Please do consider what I’ve written rather than abandon yourself to a short essay on your speaker’s psyche, on a “but what does he have in mind when he writes this or that?” I have in mind what I write, or say, a bit more as all of us but not in contradiction with what is expressed.

        You compare mediums, I don’t. You plead for my tolerance and respect when both have been asserted yet it is you who establishes comparisons, not me.

        I have nothing against video games. I’m not fond of most games so consequently when the scenario is paying what seems excessive for a game I have an even greater incentive of mentioning passion. But I took the time to be explicit on the fact I am definitely aware that tastes ans interest are various. I mention arts not to hard-codify the idea I’m right and to establish a chart of values but only to explain my surprise. No more!

        From there on we could carry on the debate on a comparison between cultural mediums, which seems to interest you. Perhaps would it be out of the scope of the article which we’ve already overflowed. It would be interesting, would include what is culture, aesthetics, pleasure, passion and addiction if you decided to confirm the distinction, do these mediums have an aim or is it only us to aim them and so on. But that wasn’t in my perspective as you will notice if you read me from the beginning.

        Rendez-vous in 2317? :)

      2. Tyson said on January 5, 2017 at 7:37 pm

        DISCLAIMER: Dear Ghacks visitors, everything below is pure non-tech bullshit. Please skip with no remorse.

        Your definition of passion is bordering on my definition of addiction. People paying for NVidia just like video games, they don’t need to be addicted to them :)

        As for people not getting what’s good with video games, there are two main stances I encountered:
        – People who don’t enjoy the controls, which don’t come naturally to them and the motivation ain’t there to learn.
        – People who don’t know what kind of video games exist. They know they don’t like mainstream is all. With the little I can see from your personality, I would think you would particularly enjoy games like Journey or Shadow of the Colossus if you don’t have a problem with controls. Even something less artistically ambitious like Limbo may be kind of pleasant to you.

        To reverse viewpoints, paintings for instance don’t particularly move me. Mona Lisa, The Starry Night and works like these are about the only things that have an aura to me and that’s in very large part because I know the personal story of their authors and because centuries of praise made them symbols of mankind’s inner beauty. It’s not the art that strikes me. I actually think that nowadays there are millions of people in the world who are better than Van Gogh and all the leading lights. Some of them actually work in video games, which is not a point I’ll be making but a funny side remark. My guess is that people are so good nowadays because we are way more numerous and expertise is way more largely shared. Either way when I see their work I think it’s amazing, but that’s it. I would not spend hours digging artwork just to please my sense of aesthetics. It won’t pull me into the picture more than a minute, and I will not leave the place changed.

        Yet, I can’t deny that it does that for people, which means it CAN do that, and maybe to me too, should some unknown conditions be met. But I’m not going out of my way to figure out how to see it with their eyes because I don’t see how it’s worth it in the first place, especially since there’s a lot of bland shit and it’s a chore to find out the ones that talk to me.
        Video games don’t have an aura yet, though let’s talk about it again in 300 years, but it should be acknowledged that they can “do that”, too. For instance, check this out regarding Journey: https://s27.postimg.org/ffvf2rpgj/Journey_But_r_el.png

        So in the end I’ll take a guess: People with a passion for video games surprise you because you don’t know what video games can be, and because the medium lacks the aura and legitimacy given by time, having an history and having universally respected leading lights. You heard about the bland shit and the industry and never found or cared to look for something that talks to you, because you have other things filing your life satisfyingly enough. You may not enjoy video games in 300 years either, but I wager that you would not be surprised any more, and would have a deeper respect for the medium. All because of time. That’s my guess, although it concerns a generic you more than you yourself.

      3. Tom Hawack said on January 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm

        Are we sure we have the same understandment of the word “passion”, independently of the academic definition?

        In “passion” I see a powerful and continuous emotion that dominates one’s mind. If I had a judgement on such a fact it wouldn’t overflow on those who are subject to it; I happen to not even judge passion itself, I don’t believe it is good or bad as it may lead to the greatest creations, mainly in arts, as well as it can destroy a life : it is a fact, not a principle in that it is not a first cause but rather a consequence of higher and higher elaborated psychological processes. That is what I believe.

        But believing does not prevent astonishment when I feel not related to what surprises me : I understand, I “feel” passion for a woman, for a quest to express a universe with a novel, poetry, a painting, music, art, but not for games. I don’t judge but I am surprised, I am surprised but not, never intolerant because my belief of diversity and that of the danger of referring to a hierarchy of values reminds me, always, to not let my brains dominate my soul, that soul where I think truly. When we say “I surprised myself by thinking/saying …” it does mean that we were able to think differently than what our brains first proposed in a rather logical, chemical, psychological! way. I am digressing.

        I mean, let’s live our passions but, beware! a fire warms as it can burn :)

        Sorry NVIDIA, I forgot you!

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