Could Nvidia’s revamped GeForce Now be the new Netflix for gaming?

Katharine Byrne
Could Nvidia’s revamped GeForce Now be the new Netflix for gaming?

Nvidia has announced its GeForce Now streaming service will be getting a complete makeover this March, coming to both Mac and PC for the first time. This potentially paves the way for lapsed PC gamers and Mac users to play the latest releases without the hassle and expense of owning physical gaming hardware. Even better, the service will stream games using Nvidia's latest GTX 10-series GPUs.

Speaking at CES, Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said consumers will soon be able to stream games from their existing PC libraries using the power of its GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 cards. All consumers need is a mouse, desktop or laptop and a stable internet connection and they'll be able to stream their games using the top-of-the-line GPUs via the GeForce Now app. Think of it as a kind of Netflix for gaming.

The service will launch first in the US with other regions to follow later, and will give users the ability to stream their existing games from digital services such as Steam, UPlay, GOG, Battle.net and Origin via the cloud.

However, there's a rather complex pricing structure involved, and the amount of streaming time you get will vary depending on which GTX virtual PC you choose to stream from. According to Nvidia, all users will be given 1,000 free credits when they first sign up, but customers will then need to buy further credit packs to carry on using the service. At the moment, the lowest credit pack costs $25, which will net you 2,500 credits.

Credits then deplete based on how much time you spend using a certain system. Stream from a GTX 1060-based system, for instance, and you'll use two credits per minute. GTX 1080 systems, however, consume four credits per minute.

As Eurogamer has worked out, that should equate to around 20 hours and 50 minutes of gameplay time for a GTX 1060 system at $25, but only 10 hours and 25 minutes if you opt for a GTX 1080-powered stream.

At the moment, Nvidia hasn't disclosed any details about what kind of quality users might expect from the service. Right now, the GeForce Now service available on Nvidia's Shield tablet caps at a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and a frame rate of 60fps. If this continues to be the case, the GTX 1080 option starts looking very expensive. MCV has contacted Nvidia for comment on this issue and will update the story when we hear back.

Users in the US can sign up for Nvidia's early access waitlist right now, but Nvidia states users must have an internet connection of at least 25Mbps to get the best experience.

There are nearly 200 million GeForce gamers around the world today, yet hundreds of millions of others have computers that aren't well-suited for modern video games,” said Huang. With GeForce NOW, a new generation of gamers can now play the latest PC games with great performance and amazing quality.”

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