The idea of playing triple-A titles on almost every laptop or desktop with the best possible visuals game can achieve sound impeccable. In the age of instant gratification and when games have extremely large files, this might be the next big thing, and it’s the right time to do it. Welcome to the Geforce Now.
Nvidia Geforce Now runs games without any installation required but only ones that are optimized and listed on the Nvidia Geforce Now application. It can also run games on very high settings and some even 120 frames per second. To bad 120 frames is available to some most popular competitive games like CS: GO and Dota 2. But more on that later.
The big question is, is it good enough for some more competitive gamers and what is the whole point of Geforce now and for who is it? What about lag input, is it doable?
Four-Hour Time Limit
First, I’m going to talk about some negative points. Since Nvidia gave me a free beta Geforce Now key I have to give some constructive feedback.
The first annoying thing was a four-hour timer, which is distracting. This limit is game-breaking at some online multiplayer games where sessions can last longer and it will disconnect you after four hours no matter what. This limit is reasonable due to the fact this service is in beta. This restriction gives more people a chance to try the Nvidia Geforce Now service.
Despise the fact there is a high demand for it, I had no noticeable issues with it. I never had to wait more than five minutes in a queue and five minutes was probably a worst-case scenario when servers were full. Also, I hope there is the same story for the AFK timer. It is a way to short around ten minutes and after, that application ends your current gaming session.
I know they had to somehow limit the servers in beta to save some resources but when it becomes paid service I believe this limit will be extended or nonexistent. There are some online games which one session can last up to multiple hours.
No EA Games?
I hate to say this, but you can’t play EA games on Nvidia Geforce Now. The reason for this is EA is allegedly launching its streaming service, and that is a significant problem since EA owns many well know gaming studios, Bioware, Dice, Respawn studios, and many, many others. So gamers on Nvidia Geforce Now might never play games from those studios.
Why is this a big problem? First, gamers can’t directly play all those games on one platform, and I don’t imagine how a consumer is willing to pay for more than one streaming service, aka Netflix problem. I also think EA player base is the biggest casual gaming community out there. These are the players Nvidia should target with Geforce Now platform and all the more “hardcore” gamers or pc-master race wizards will always want to have hardware in their mighty towers anyway.
The Convenience of a Console
The market with hardware enthusiast and professional esports gamers is not the biggest market for Geforce Now, in my opinion. It’s market for casual gamers, and these are the players who love the convenience of a console, and that is precisely what Geforce Now brings to the table.
The Nvidia Shield TV should be somehow more related to console competition because you can play many games, stream and much more. Also, you don’t even have to install the games. Anyone remembers a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away when you didn’t have to install games on consoles. Anyway, the console market is humongous, and I fell like Nvidia is just missing out on the opportunity here.
Excuse me, I have to repeat myself. You don’t have to install games, and you can play games on any crappy computer or TVs with the controller. It’s everything exactly like consoles but better. You will always be able to play games at their max visual fidelity. Why didn’t this thing already take on the world? It must be marketing or lack of proper internet infrastructure or both.
How Does Nvidia Geforce Now Work?
Great “explain like I am five” analogy is, this it is just like a Netflix but for games.
First time I heard about cloud-based gaming was when they introduced OnLive streaming service along with some of the most demanding games. At the time, I thought this was the future of gaming, and I don’t know what exactly happened to OnLive. I just saw an official statement they posted on their site. “Sony has acquired important parts of the company, and with that, all service was discontinued.” It was quite disappointing because I wanted to test this service at the time.
So Nvidia Geforce Now It’s basically “cloud gaming service” or game streaming platform where you can play games in real-time. That means Nvidia has servers across North America and Europe with which you connect to via their application. When you start a game, you have limited control of one of their servers or part of it. You can only play games that are “optimized” for this app. That means those games are already installed on their servers. Not so long ago you could also download any steam game you own and play, but it’s no longer possible to do this.
Nvidia Geforce Now Server List
- US WEST
- US NORTHWEST
- US SOUTHWEST
- US MIDWEST
- US MIDWEST 2
- US CENTRAL
- US EAST 2
- US NORTHEAST
- US SOUTH
- US SOUTH 2
- EU WEST
- EU WEST 2
- EU NORTHWEST
- EU CENTRAL
- EU CENTRAL 2
- EU CENTRAL 3
- EU CENTRAL 4
Internet Requirements For Nvidia Geforce Now
This service requires owned games and decent internet connection while recommended is 50 Mbps download for maximum quality, 25 Mbps minimum for 1080p or 15 Mbps minimum for 720p resolution all that on at least 60 frames per second. Geforce Now is supported on Windows and iOS. For mac support check HERE.
Just Look At Those Specs OMG!
The actual hardware in Nvidia Geforce Now
Their servers are, in fact, fast and high-performance computers with high-end hardware.
The server I was playing on is rocking Xeon CPU e5-2697 2.4GHz has 8 cores and 8 logical cores with 16 GB RAM. They have changed this; I think they used to have 12 core Xeons. Next thing is this crazy NVIDIA Tesla P40 GPU, 24 Gb RAM with this colossal framebuffer you can run 4K smoothly.
Although Nvidia Tesla P40 is not designed for personal or gaming use but for data centers, servers, and professional users like engineers scientist and graphic designers, it has outstanding gaming potential. Tesla p40 has a whopping 24 Gb framebuffer, so performance is exceptional on high resolutions like 1440p and 4K.
One of the essential things in games besides gameplay mechanics, graphics, and physics is the game responsiveness. In the case of cloud-based gaming, service latency is a significant contributor to how responsive your games will be. It’s also the hardest problem to solve, in my opinion, how to bring a motion to the consumer with little as possible latency.
The short answer is the lag just too significant for any serious competitive multiplayer. If you guys were hoping this platform could be used for competitive gaming I have bad news for you, for now, it’s out of the question.
Even the slightest mouse lag especially in FPS shooters it’s just too much. I have been playing Counter-Strike from 1.5 and gotten to Legendary Eagle Master in competitive mode before I stopped playing this game altogether. And I have to tell you I could never play on a high level with Nvidia GeForce Now. Good aim means a lot in this game, and if you can’t be precise with it, you cannot do very well period.
Some people are saying that this mouse lag which is especially noticeable in FPS shooters will be impossible to overcome although Casual gamers may not even notice this. But when I have played a bunch of games on the Xbox One controller, and this thing is rocking with it. I haven’t seen any particular lag with it. This could also be because I have played mostly singleplayer games with the controller.
They improved mouse lag when they introduced competitive mode and gave us an option to pick from multiple settings. Some are better for stream quality, and some are better for reducing latency. For better latency, they gave us custom and competitive settings, which are very helpful but still not ideal for competitive games. I was surprised how well Nvidia managed to improve the mouse lag. If only Nvidia could make their streaming platform great for competitive players that would be a home run.
Especially Great for Casual Gaming
Nevertheless, their streaming platform is already great for casual gamers, which is quite an achievement on its own. I had no problems playing Doom, Dark souls 3, Hitman, Guild Wars 2, Batman Arkham Knight, Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Come: Deliverance and others. All these games performed really well in singleplayer. I only had some minor quality problems here and there, but that probably happened because many people were trying out beta and even more due to the fact this service is free, and their servers had some issues with the demand.
I was blown away to experience how responsive Doom is in singleplayer and also competitive mode. There is a competitive mode in Geforce Now, but this mode is limited with 720p resolution. I tried to reproduce this responsiveness with the custom setting in full 1080p resolution, but I wasn’t successful. I want to see competitive mode on full HD resolution, and I want to see this kind of responsiveness since 1080p is pretty much standard.
Nvidia GeForce Now Performance
Nvidia Geforce now has the option to run and stream the games to our devices with an impressive 120 frames per second but too bad, it is limited only to a couple of most popular esports titles. I have been able to run CS: GO and Dota 2 on 120 Frames Per Second but unfortunately I haven’t managed to get other games with those frames. I suspect the reason for this is they had to limit those high frames for the most competitive games out there. I believe this is only temporary, and it gives us a glimpse of what this streaming service is capable of. Note that your monitor has to support more than 60 Hz to utilize more frames per second.
CS: GO benchmark
At the time writing this article, Nvidia announced new RTX blade servers which supposedly provides RTX 2080 performance but I have encountered some strange dips which should not be happening. These FPS dips will never happen even on GTX 1060 with some four-core average CPU.
It’s somewhat pointless to benchmark lots of games in Geforce now, It’s the whole point of service that games will run smoothly and at lease always on 60 FPS aside from some hidden unoptimized games in the industry that run bad no matter what. The service is not yet perfect from a performance standpoint, but that’s the whole point of Beta testing.
GeForce Now Beta Review Conclusion
Best times with Geforce Now were when I plugged in an Xbox One controller, and I was surprised how well everything felt. I had mostly played Dark Souls III singleplayer, and I had a delightful and fluid experience.
At the moment I see Geforce Now being used in all kinds of different situations. It is certainly not for some hardcore competitive players who need absolute precision and responsiveness of milliseconds, but it is suitable for anything other than that. Although for now, this is the only one of the two major drawbacks and another being you can’t play all the titles you want, especially EA games like Apex Legends which is a bummer.
All this aside Geforce Now is excellent at what it does already. You don’t need a high-end PC to enjoy new triple-A titles, it’s free for now, and you can play anywhere with a decent internet connection.
We will see how this thing will unwrap in the future; at the moment, you can enjoy smooth gameplay with most demanding triple-A titles free of charge. I am curious to see Nvidia pricing on this service and how it will compare to your machine and if the latency will ever be good enough for more competitive players.
- Instant-play no installation required
- Best visual and smooth gameplay without upgrading anything
- Play anywhere with a decent internet connection
- Free in Beta
- Good internet speed and connection is required
- Not for competitive players (lag is still noticeable)
- Have to own all the games
- Not possible to transfer save files (no official way for now)
- Cannot play all the games (EA games)
Disclaimer: This review was written while Geforce now is in beta. Lots of things may change in the future. This review may not reflect the reality this application will be.