Our beta application for GeForce Now at last approved. We have tried a few games through Nvidia's service and we will share our experience with you. But first let's clarify what GeForce Now is.
What is GeForce Now?
GeForce Now is Nvidia's cloud gaming service. GeForce Now allows you to play games as stream, meaning graphics are processed and sent to you on the server, without straining your PC hardware. The service requires you to have a smooth, fast and low-latency internet connection. If you meet these requirements, you can start playing high resolution games even in your 5-year-old laptop (though there are hardware requirements, too).
We had oppurtunity to try it free but GeForce Now will be a paid service in the future. We're curious if GeForce Now will be cheaper to buying a gaming PC in comparison.
How does GeForce Now work?
GeForce Now clients works on MacOS, Windows and Nvidia Shield. The service needs at least 15Mbps connection for a 720p 60fps image. You need a 25Mbps connection for 1080p and 60fps. This connection must be established over wired ethernet or 5GHz wireless network. All requirements can be found here.
Our GeForce Now experience
Some of the games on GeForce Now require you to sign in to your Steam account. So, as far as we can see, paid games are not free here - you can only play games you bought before (and free to play games). For a dedicated player this may not be a problem, but after starting to pay for the service, we're not so sure.
The Steam client works on the server and will install the game on the server after you log in. This process happens almost instatly, your game is ready right away. However, we had some difficulty while entering our Steam password because our password was quite long (thanks to my password manager) and it could not be copied and pasted to remote PC.
First let me say this test is done in Istanbul, Turkey and probably not too near Nvidia'a EU servers. In our 35-megabit VDSL home networking experience, we saw that Nvidia's client was not very happy with the connection and occasionally gave a "Packet loss high" warning on the top right corner of the screen. Anyway, we got same message over the 100Mbps internet connection in the office, that notification appeared from time to time. In games such as Fortnite, the lag can be disturbing, so you are somewhat disadvantaged compared to playing on your own PC. Still, the game graphics can be turned up to the latest settings and Nvidia's powerful Tesla cards offer over 60 FPS without any difficulty.
We were pleased with the game graphics in our experiment with World of Tanks. We witnessed different games when the image quality dropped to a few seconds sometimes. This is probably a problem because we are somewhat away from the servers or because the service is in beta.
I also tried GeForce Now on my 5 year old Intel Core i7, 1080p laptop. Normally Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege will run with 3-4 fps on this laptop, but on Nvidia's service it was smooth. However, the lag, small delays and occasional hiccups (e.g. you're holding right mouse button to aim, but it "depresses" sometimes by itself) affect the gaming experience. Especially when you are dragging the mouse cursor, you clearly see it lags maybe a quarter of second. However, game loading time is very fast and fps is high.
If you live in a country which is away from Nvidia GeForce Now data centers and play games that require quick response you may not get the responsiveness you expect from the GeForce Now. I live in Istanbul and the lag wasn't gone even with a very good internet connection. On the other hand, GeForce Now can turn your old PC into a gaming machine which it can only dream of.
At this point, we should also mention that GeForce Now feels as beta or even alpha sometimes. For example, if you have a dual monitor, you will have two mouse cursors at an and a while in the game. Other than that, entering the game should be a bit faster for us.
Surely, Nvidia can overcome all of these problems in time, until the final release.