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Nvidia GeForce Now explained: prices, platforms, and how it works

Nvidia's GeForce Now is one of the longest running cloud gaming services around. Here's everything you need to know about it.

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Gaming hardware manufacturer Nvidia first launched a cloud gaming service before many knew what that even meant – back in 2015. It has changed a fair bit since then and offers high-end PC gaming across multiple platforms, including Mac, TV and mobile.

GeForce Now also runs a bit differently to rivals, such as Xbox Cloud Gaming, Amazon Luna and, to a certain extent, PlayStation Plus Premium, in that it allows you to play games you’ve already purchased.

Here’s everything you need to know about Nvidia’s GeForce Now.

What is GeForce Now?

GeForce Now is a cloud gaming service from Nvidia that’s available in the US and across Europe. It enables you to play games streamed over the internet rather than host them locally on a PC or games console yourself. That means the game is played on a remote server with the video of the gameplay sent to your device, be that a mobile phone, tablet, TV or computer.

Your button presses on a controller, keyboard or mouse are sent in the opposite direction, so there is a slight amount of extra latency involved that might not be there when played locally. However, Nvidia has improved this aspect greatly in later years and the tiny amount of extra lag is now almost imperceptible.

Unlike rivals, GeForce Now also gives you access to your own game libraries to play on additional devices. This means that supported games you buy on Steam, the Epic Games Store, Ubisoft Connect, the EA app for Windows, and/or GOG can also be played across GeForce Now. A deal with Microsoft means PC Game Pass subscribers will soon be able to link their accounts too.

There is no library of additional titles to choose from, although a healthy collection of free-to-play games are available – such as Fortnite and Apex Legends.

Also unlike many of its rivals, GeForce Now offers a completely free tier so you can sign up and start playing games over the cloud today, at no cost at all.

GeForce Now price plans

There are three GeForce Now membership tiers available, with the first being completely free.

Free

Nvidia offers a free membership option that enables you to play your purchased or freemium games for up to an hour at a time on a “basic rig”. You also have “standard access” to servers, which means you might have to wait a little while to gain access.

Priority

Priority is the step-up plan. It costs £8.99 / $8.99 / €9.99 per month to play on a “premium rig” with ray-tracing support.

Your gameplay time is extended to six-hours and video is delivered in up to 1080p 60fps. You also have priority access to servers, hence the name.

A six-month payment option is offered too, which usually costs £44.99 / $49.99 / €49.99, but a discount is currently available, slashing that by 40 per cent for a limited time.

Ultimate

Previously known as “RTX 3080”, the Ultimate tier is the crème de la crème of GeForce Now plans. It now runs on up to RTX 4080 systems with full ray-tracing support, DLSS 3 and up to 4K 120fps.

Ultimate members also get exclusive access to the fastest servers and up to eight-hours of gaming in a single session. It costs £17.99 / $19.99 / €19.99 per month or £89.99 / $99.99 / €99.99 for six-months.

GeForce Now devices and platforms

GeForce Now will run on numerous platforms, including PC, Mac and Chromebook – either through a dedicated desktop app or via a browser.

Android phones and tablets are supported too, as long as they run at least Android 5.0 and have 2GB of RAM. Android phones with 120Hz displays can even play games in up to 120fps.

Apple devices, such as iPhone and iPad, can run GeForce Now through the Safari browser – just head to play.geforcenow.com.

Android TV devices, especially Nvidia’s own Shield TV and Shield TV Pro, are capable of streaming GeForce Now games too. Shield boxes have the system baked into their user interface, so makes it very easy to operate.


Nvidia Shield TV

The standard Nvidia Shield TV is capable of 4K streaming and Dolby Atmos sound. It also upscales standard video to better suit a 4K HDR TV.


Some PC and cloud gaming handhelds, such as the recently-released Asus ROG Ally, can play GeForce Now games.


Asus ROG Ally

Asus’ first gaming handheld runs on Windows and can play full PC titles as well as stream games via different cloud platforms.


And finally, Samsung and LG Smart TVs – especially those made in the last few years – have access to GeForce Now.

GeForce Now recommended minimum internet speeds

Nvidia recommends that you have a minimum broadband speed of 15Mbps to stream 720p 60fps video. That is upped to 25Mbps for 1080p 60fps.

If you are an Ultimate member and want the full experience – 4K (3840 x 2160) 120fps – you will need at least 45Mbps broadband. It is possible, however, to stream at a slightly lower – maybe imperceptible – resolution (ie. 1600p) with a 35Mbps connection. The same is true if you want to stream 1080p video at 240fps.

Nvidia GeForce Now games list

Nvidia has recently announced a long term deal with Microsoft to add its games to GeForce Now, including Gears 5. PC Game Pass subscribers will also soon be able to access their games through the platform.

You don’t have to wait until that happens though as there are more than 1,500 other games currently supported by the system, with additional titles added each week. You can see the current games list here.

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Rik Henderson
Rik Hendersonhttp://gameslifer.com
Rik is a professional journalist with more than 35 years experience across online, magazines and television broadcasting. As well as the creator of GamesLifer, he is the News Editor of T3.com, while his previous work includes stints as editor and group editor on several monthlies and weeklies covering video games and technology. He has also been a series producer on daily and weekly TV shows, and has presented and guested on multiple TV series too, including GamesMaster, Games World, Game Over, Virtual World of Sport, Live TV, Greatest Christmas TV Ads, and The Apprentice.
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