(Pocket-lint) – Nvidia has its own cloud gaming service in the form of GeForce Now, but it is different to most others.
For starters, there is a free-to-play plan and it gives you cloud access to many of your own games on Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG, EA’s Origin and Ubisoft Connect, all running on the latest PC gaming hardware.
So, how do you get GeForce Now and what devices does it work on? Read on.
What is Nvidia GeForce Now?
Nvidia GeForce Now is a cloud gaming service whereby you play games hosted on remote servers and streamed over the internet to one of the supported devices – much like Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Pass, Shadow, or PlayStation Plus Premium.
All controller (or mouse) codes go the other way, while you receive up to 4K 120fps video of your gameplay back.
It runs from more than 20 data centres sited around the world, with you accessing the one closest to you. And, depending on which membership plan you choose, games are run on the best Nvidia graphics cards around (RTX), so they will look their best no matter the spec of the hardware at your end.
Unlike most of its rivals, GeForce Now doesn’t sell you games or give you access to its own curated library of titles. Instead, it links with accounts at digital game stores, such as Steam and the Epic Games Store, to play the games you already own or will buy from them in the future.
Not all games are available – some publishers block the use of most of their titles through GeForce Now – but there are still 1,000s that are.
Nvidia GeForce Now compatible devices
The Nvidia GeForce Now service is playable through the company’s own Shield TV set-top-boxes. It can also be accessed through desktop apps for PC, Mac and Google Chromebooks. Or through a Chrome browser.
Any Android device with 2GB of RAM and sporting Android 5.0 is compatible, but you will need a separate controller. Note, Android phones with 120Hz displays are capable of streaming gameplay at up to 120fps.
The streaming device list also includes Android TV boxes that aren’t the Shield TV, but as the app is only in beta form at present, Nvidia makes no guarantees on performance or that all functionality will be available.
There is support for iOS devices too, through the Safari browser. Just load play.geforcenow.com on a new page.
Finally, some Samsung smart TVs can run GeForce Now through the Samsung Gaming Hub launched in the summer of 2022.
How much does GeForce Now cost?
There are three membership options for Nvidia GeForce Now and the best news is that one of them is free.
Free membership allows you to play any of your compatible games on a “basic rig” for up to an hour at a time. You might also have to wait in a queue until a slot on one of Nvidia’s machines becomes available as paid members get priority.
Priority members get extended session length (up to 6-hours), priority access (hence the name) and games are played using RTX cards and ray-tracing where applicable. You also get reasonable performance with up to 1080p at 60FPS.
Priority membership costs £8.99 / $8.99 / €9.99 per month. You can also pay for 6-months in advance to save some cash – it costs £44.99 / $49.99 / €49.99 this way.
The final option is named RTX 3080 as it gives you access to the best graphics currently available. It offers 8-hours of playtime in a single session, exclusive access to servers running on hugely impressive RTX 3080 graphics cards, ray-tracing and up to 1440p 120fps gaming on many devices. Nvidia Shield TV owners can also play in 4K HDR, while those using a Chrome browser on PC, Mac or Chromebook get up to 1600p 120fps.
RYX 3080 membership costs £17.99 / $19.99 / €19.99 per month or £89.99 / $99.99 / €99.99 for 6-months when paid upfront.
Founders (no longer offered)
Founders members who signed up in the service’s first year as a public offering will continue to pay at their old rate “for life” (unless they upgrade to RTX 3080).
What games are available on Nvidia GeForce Now?
As mentioned above, the big thing about the GeForce Now service is that your own games are available to you. So if you have a healthy library of games on Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG, Origin, or Ubisoft Connect, you can simply install a vast number of them on the remote machine and play them whenever you fancy. Some are even preloaded so you don’t have to wait for the games to install before playing.
You can search the list of currently supported games here.
Some games support Nvidia Highlights, which allows you to capture in-game footage and share it. This includes Fortnite, Kingdom Come: Deliverance and many other titles that you can see on this list here.
Where are my save files stored?
All of your save files are stored in the cloud so you can pick up where you left off whenever you like.
What is the minimum internet speed Nvidia GeForce Now works on?
Nvidia GeForce Now uses adaptive bitrates when streaming, so the image quality will adjust to your current internet speeds.
It requires a minimum broadband speed of 15Mbps if you want to stream in 720p 60fps, 25Mbps to enjoy a stable 1080p 60fps experience. If you are an RTX 3080 subscriber, you need at least 35Mbps for 1440p 120fps streaming.
Nvidia also claims that ping time to one of its servers should not exceed 80ms.
Can I play multiplayer games?
As it effectively plays games from your own library, only installed on a remote machine, GeForce Now is compatible with multiplayer online games, including Fortnite.
What’s more, you can play in multiplayer online worlds alongside players of the PC versions of games.
Where is Nvidia GeForce Now available?
GeForce Now is available in 30 countries around the world, including the US, UK and Central Europe.
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You can find out more and sign up for Nvidia GeForce Now here.
Writing by Rik Henderson.