Late last year Google launched its Stadia game streaming service, Microsoft kicked off a preview of its Project xCloud. But NVIDIA’s been beta testing a game streaming service since 2013.

Now it’s finally out of beta and available for users in North America and Europe.

NVIDIA’s GeForce Now game streaming service is a little different from the rivals. NVIDIA isn’t trying to sell you games… just the streaming technology that lets you play them on any supported device.

Here’s how that works — GeForce Now is compatible with Steam, Epic, UPlay, and Already own a compatible game? Then you can sign up for a GeForce Now account and stream that game to your Windows or Mac computer, an NVIDIA Shield device, or an Android phone.

It doesn’t matter what the specs of your phone or laptop are, because all the processing is done on remote servers. All you need is a fast internet connection with low latency. NVIDIA recommends 50 Mbps or higher for the best experience, although the minimum requirement is just 15 Mbps.

If you’re not sure your existing WiFi router is up to the job, NVIDIA has a list of hardware recommendations including routers and gamepads (which are encouraged for mobile gamers who want to stream to an Android phone or tablet).

NVIDIA plans to add support for Chromebooks later this year, but there are currently no plans to support iPhones or iPads.

One thing that’s always felt risky about game streaming platforms is that your game collection is tied to the service you’re using. If you stop paying for Stadia, for example, you lose access to any games you may have purchase. And the same is true if Google pulls the plug on Stadia at some point… which is something some folks expect to happen within the next few years, given Google’s habit of killing off underperforming products.

GeForce Now sidesteps that issue, because you’re not buying games from NVIDIA. Any game you buy from Steam, for example, will remain in your Steam library even if you cancel your GeForce Now subscription or NVIDIA pulls the plug on the service. You’ll still be able to play on local devices… you just may not be able to stream the games over the internet.

That said, it’s worth noting that not every PC game is compatible with GeForce Now. According to NVIDIA there are “more than 1,000 games” that are supported.

On the bright side, even if you don’t already have an extensive game library, NVIDIA notes that there are 30+ free to play games available including Fortnite.

And while some other services promise 4K gaming, NVIDIA GeForce Now tops out at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. But the pricing and feature set is rather competitive.

So how much does this cost? It depends.

At launch there are two pricing options:

  • Free
  • $4.99 per month for Founders subscription (with 90-day free trial)

Free users can game for up to 1 hour at a time. NVIDIA will kick you off the server at the end of that hour and depending on how many folks are trying to access the company’s servers, you may have to wait a little while to reconnect and keep gaming.

Pay for a subscription and you can play for up to 6 hours during a session and when you want to reconnect, you’ll get priority access. The paid subscription also includes support for NVIDIA RTX ray-tracing graphics.

While NVIDIA says the $4.99/month price is good for the first 12 months, the company hasn’t said how much a paid subscription will cost after the launch promotion ends.

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7 replies on “NVIDIA GeForce game streaming service exits beta with freemium pricing”

  1. Just a note. You don’t lose access to games you have bought on Stadia.

    I get it, it’s trendy to shit on Stadia, but there is no reason to make these kinds of statements

    (And before everyone pile on, I use GFN, Stadia and PS Now and I am currently working on a cloud gaming project for the ISP I am working for)

  2. Is the freemium model supported by ads?

    How will that be sustainable? Or is Nvidia simply betting that if a lot of users try the hourly free sessions and are unable to reconnect due to long queues, they will simply buy the premium sub.

    1. It’s all about growing the user base at the moment. They want to be the Twitch or YouTube of cloud based game streaming. nVidia is a very wealthy company, having enjoyed years of near monopoly status in the high end graphics card business, and they can no doubt afford to run GeForce Now at a loss for some considerable time.

      Of course, they also have hardware to cross promote, SHIELD TV especially, but also their RTX graphics cards with exclusive features owners can use with the premium service.

      1. Agreed 110%
        And I think the model for the freemium version is decent, whilst the premium version is definitely reasonable at $5/month.

        However, I feel like Gaming PCs is a USA/Canada thing, as is the case for the Nvidia TV. Most other countries doesn’t have the culture for high-end gaming, for instance, millions of gamers in China are using Intel Iris iGPU or something low-end like a GTX 960. And in Europe, most people instead have a Laptop and game on a console or phone. So GeForce stream seems to have a niche (sort of).

        The closest to USA/Canada in terms of high-end PC Gaming culture is in UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Japan…. but even then it’s nowhere near as mainstream.

        1. Where did you get the Europe statistics? O_o Every gamer I know has a desktop/laptop with a dedicated graphics card for that. And I’m from the exact center of Europe, both geographically and financially.

    2. I think the 1 hour limit plus the possibility of a wait queue will keep the free service going. Ive been using this on the shield for a while now and the performance is usually pretty solid as long as your internet is also solid. Im excited to see the RTX on option, with the power of those servers RTX should finally be where it needs to be as far as frame rate. I grow extremely tired of “services” vs actual products from companies but in this case $5 a month rent on an EXTREMELY capable machine (that others have to worry about keeping running) is more then reasonable to be able to play games from several sources.

  3. I’ve enjoyed GeForce now on my shield and phone. And there’s something to note. In theory you can install any pc game on those services, it just won’t “stay” installed. This means that if the game has (steam’s) cloud saving you can just install it every time and continue no problem (they “download”and install quite fast). But if it doesn’t have cliff saving and GeForce now doesn’t super it, your saved frame will be lost (which for some games doesn’t matter, others it makes them unplayable).
    But five bucks a month is totally reasonable. As is the freemium model herein described (In my opinion).

    Oh, I did wish there was an easy way for it to tell you which of your games are “compatible”.

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