The recently announced Nvidia GeForce Now service is all set to let players stream their games to various devices, but it turns out that the service is not the games marketplace many thought it would be. It's actually more of a "rent a powerful graphics card" program.
Just like with similar streaming services, one of the perks of this new Now feature is that it allows you to play beefy games on much less beefy hardware. Driver updates and game updates will be downloaded automatically, keeping things nice and simple once you've gone digital. In short, you can upload games you own to the Nvidia cloud, which can then be played with high-end Nvidia cards (the GTX 1060 or 1080), even if you don't own the hardware yourself.
The GeForce Now service is available free for a limited time according to Gamespot, while Nvidia works out all of the kinks. So long as you live in the continental U.S., you can use up to a terabyte of data to start streaming your games. Once the system is ready for full launch, it'll come with a pretty hefty price tag. You'll need to stock up on credits, which are exchanged for every minute of play time you use. The weird thing is that the number of credits needed varies based on whether you're using a GTX 1060 or GTX 1080. The former costs two credits per minute while the latter costs four. If you're willing to fork over some cash to keep playing, it'll be $25 for 2,500 credits. That only lasts about eight and a half hours on the GTX 1060 or four hours on the GTX 1080, but you might consider that a decent trade if you don't have the funds for new hardware.
We can see some pretty great uses for this service. For starters, if you only have one mega-computer in your home but someone else wants to play, say, a graphics intensive game on their laptop, they can do that. The other perk would be that you, yourself, can now stream your more demanding games to another device while traveling. Finally, there's the fact that not everybody wants to upgrade their computer to keep playing more and more demanding games. If you just upload the game to Now, you can start playing it on your not-so-great computer via streaming from Nvidia.
When Nvidia first announced its GeForce Now cloud-based streaming service, many were under the impression that it would be a digital market, similar to Steam, where you could buy games like Skyrim, Call of Duty or No Man's Sky and stream them to your home computer, rather than download. Perhaps a better comparison would be the similarly named PlayStation Now, which grants access to an ever-growing library of streaming games for a monthly fee.
It turns out GeForce Now is made to work in tangent with other services, however, allowing you to stream your own games to other devices, both PC and Mac.
The reason for the confusion is that there's already a Nvidia Now service available for the Shield, Nvidia's portable gaming device. But as Gamespot is reporting, the version of Now available for big rigs instead lets you install your own games into the Now program. Whether on your hard drive or purchased from services like Steam and Origin, you can load your games to the GeForce Now service and stream them while they run on better graphics cards.