After quite some time, it’s here. NVIDIA’s very own cloud gaming platform, GeForce NOW.
Why is this such a big deal (for me)? Well as a Mac user I have a limited access to some AAA titles made exclusively for Windows platform. Sure there’s BootCamp method but really, me installing Windows crap on a Mac? No tnx.
Still Mac platform over the years, has gotten some great game titles from various developer studios but still some games tend to stay on Windows only.
As a World of Warcraft veteran myself I spend a lot of years playing that game natively on a Mac so there was no need for any alternatives.
Nowadays I don’t play much and if I do those are Blizzard titles that again, work on Mac natively. But what does that have to do with GeForce NOW or any cloud gaming platform?
Well, if you want to play your heavy Windows only titles on any device that are not even designed to play games, then things get interesting.
For the past two days I have been using GeForce NOW service as a free user. That means that all you need to do is setup a free account with the service and you can start using it. Number of games in their catalog is vast but the best part is that if you own a game already on Steam for example, all you need to do is log into steam and press play. How cool is that?
Free tier has some limitations one being you are limited to a one hour session (who said that was a bad thing, right?) and at the end you have to restart your session again. There is also a line that you have to wait depending on the usage of the service etc… So all in all if you don’t wanna pay 5€/mo for a premium service you can test it out this way.
So how well supported is this service worldwide? Currently it is supported in the US and Europe with a large number of servers (9 in the US and 5 in Europe). Being a user that’s not even on a hard line connection myself (still waiting for fiber to come this year) but instead I’m using a 4G connection (50/40 Mbits), I have to say that this service run perfect, and I mean, perfect.
Logon, and click play
After you install a GeForce NOW client on your machine (win, mac, android, no linux and iOS at the moment), all you have to do is log in, add your game and press play, that’s it! The client will automatically load up in full screen and load your game in the resolution that you have set or that its find suitable depending on your current Internet connection.
If you are running a multi monitor solution, unlike some other cloud gaming solutions, GFNOW will only use one single monitor and you can use others for anything else. Great work nVIDIA!
What happens next is that GFNOW will invoke your Steam game (maybe ask you to log into Steam as well to get things going) and in matter of seconds you are playing on a 9y old MacBook Air a fast paced shooter in 1080p (Ultra details) from 2016! What?? With no noticeable input lag after an hour of gaming with 0.0 problems, you will forget that you are streaming. Brilliant! Long live cloud gaming!
So how much bandwidth do you need and how much traffic is being generated? Well that will depend on the streaming quality of your choice. From 720p and 30fps at about 2GB/hour to about 10GB/hour for 1080p and 60fps. Now this is not important if you are playing at home or somewhere where you have unlimited data, but on a mobile platform (Android) via your phone, you might eat up your data plan in matter of hours, so be mindful.
Personally I’m not a gamepad user and I never was. Keyboard+mouse is my combo. Still, GFNOW supports gamepad support so if you are into that, go for it.
The client has also an in game overlay of controls that you can invoke. It shows your time left, screenshots, in game recordings etc… Again, not a lot of controls and options but more than needed if you ask me. Also, you can select if you want to see a network status icon on the side of your screen that will tell you if your connections is bad or even in the red.
Cloud gaming is finally here and nVIDIA has done it, the right way. Top job!
Have you tried GFNOW or any other cloud gaming solution? Let me hear your comments.