Games are better than ever in 2020, featuring glorious open worlds, life-like AI and gameplay that’ll keep you going for hundreds of hours, but what if you don’t have a PC capable of running them? Not everyone can afford an RTX 3080-enabled gaming PC to run the best PC games, after all.
Historically, these gamers were forced to run the games on sub-optimal settings or get left behind all together, but not anymore. Following a closed beta test that lasted three years, Nvidia officially released GeForce Now earlier this year, and it has the potential to revolutionise gaming on a PC, Mac, Android or iOS device.
Here, we explain all you need to know about Nvidia GeForce Now.
What is Nvidia GeForce Now?
Before we go into more detail about how you can play the latest AAA-rated games on any PC regardless of specs, let’s first explain what Nvidia’s cloud-based GeForce Now for PC and Mac is.
First revealed back at CES 2017, Nvidia GeForce Now provides gamers with the ability to stream gameplay rendered remotely, negating the need to worry about local PC requirements – all you need is a fast-enough internet connection! Nvidia recommends download speeds of around 25-50mbps, although it can function on as little as a 15Mbps connection.
Unlike the likes of Google Stadia that require you to purchase games from the platform store, GeForce Now allows you to play games that you own via the likes of Steam, Battle.net and Uplay. This allows you to play alongside your friends as you usually would, with no need for them to sign up to yet another online store to continue playing together.
Aside from 30+ free-to-play titles including the likes of Fortnite, there are over 300 games available with no install required and over 1000 older games that you can play on a ‘single-use’ basis. The good news is that more games are being added to the service every week.
With unsupported games, you’ll essentially redownload the game you want to play every time you want to play so it’s crucial that you play games that support cloud saves. Even with unsupported games, downloads take seconds rather than hours. The single-use feature is exclusive to Steam for now, but other launchers could be added in future.
As mentioned, the games are rendered remotely at one of Nvidia’s server sites scattered around Europe and the US and provide a graphical output similar to that of a high-end gaming PC. In fact, if you opt for the Founders Plan – outlined below – you’ll be able to play games with real-time ray-tracing via upgraded RTX servers.
The only downside compared to other streaming services is the resolution cap; you’re limited to [email protected] no matter the plan you go for. Nvidia is planning to add 4K HDR support, but there’s no release window in sight just yet.
How can I access Nvidia GeForce Now?
The good part about cloud-based gaming is its accessibility, and GeForce Now is a great showcase of cloud gaming tech. The Nvidia GeForce Now app is available to download for PC, Mac, Android, Shield TV and Chromebook.
There's no native iOS app due to Apple's restrictions on cloud gaming apps, but Nvidia has provided a workaround in the form of web app available via Safari, allowing you to play AAA games on your iPhone or iPad without the need for a dedicated app.
How much does Nvidia GeForce Now cost?
Such an impressive cloud-based game streaming service has to be pretty expensive, right? Wrong. The service was free to use during the closed beta and Nvidia has kept that theme going at full release with a free-to-use plan alongside the premium, but still budget-friendly, Founders plan.
The Founders plan, cheap at £4.99/$4.99 a month following a 90-day trial, offers access to six-hour-long streaming sessions along with RTX support in games like Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Metro Exodus along with priority access to the service during busy periods. The latter isn’t important right now, but as the service grows, Nvidia envisions a queue system to access the service.
The Free plan is limited to 1-hour-long streams, and while you’re free to disconnect and reconnect straight away, you’ll have to join a queue to regain access. You’ll still be able to play RTX games like Metro Exodus, but you won’t be able to turn RTX on if you’re on the free plan.
Whichever plan you choose, head to the GeForce Now site to sign up and download the client for your desired platform.
GeForce Now requirements
Nvidia GeForce Now requires the following for use across PC, Mac, Android and iOS:
- 25Mbps internet connection (15Mbps minimum) via Ethernet or 5Ghz Wi-Fi.
- Any Windows PC running Windows 7 (64-bit) or higher, 4GB of RAM, a 2.0GHz dual-core X86 CPU or higher and any GPU that supports DirectX 11.
- Any Mac with macOS 10.10 or higher.
- Any Nvidia Shield TV
- Any Android phone running Android 5.0 or later, 2GB of RAM or higher. Bluetooth controller also strongly recommended.
- iPhone or iPad with access to Safari
For other great cloud streaming services, take a look at our selection of the best game streaming services.