NVIDIA Geforce Now is bringing cloud-based gaming to your PC

GeForce Now Dashboard
GeForce Now Dashboard (Image credit: Android Central)

Until now, NVIDIA has been pushing its Geforce Now cloud-based gaming service through its first-party Shield hardware running Android. As of CES 2017 however that's going to change. Starting in March, Geforce Now will be on the PC and Mac.

The service will launch in early access first to those in the U.S. followed by a full rollout later in the spring. After a free trial you'll pay for access, with differing tiers for GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 owners, for example.

But this is being pitched at integrated graphics users, aka those found on Ultrabooks or the likes of the Surface Pro 4. It gives access to your games in the cloud, allowing you to hook into services like Steam, UPlay, Origin and so on, and allows you to stream them to your device.

The heavy lifting is done by NVIDIAs Pascal-powered data centers, so in theory as long as you have a good internet connection you'll be able to play Doom on your Surface. When you load up Geforce Now on your machine you'll be taken to a virtual desktop where you can access your game services and play just as you would natively on your own PC.

It's a different angle to the so-far Android exclusive Geforce Now offering, but if it works as intended it'll open up the world of PC gaming to virtually any previously underpowered computer. We'll be watching this one closely when the time comes.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine

  • Way too expensive for 25 bucks for 20 hours.... Although I would pay 25 for 100 hours in a heartbeat
  • Wait, you pay by the hour? I'm out on that one. I would rather a flat monthly payment.
  • Yeah its rediculous
  • Seriously. I mean I can see paying for it, you are using someone elses data center, but there are days where I get a pretty huge amount fo game time in. 20 hours isn't nearly enough.
  • you expect to rent pc that's GPU alone costs 800$ and got to be replaced yearly for 20$ a month? slim chance, man..
  • Unless you read it on another article or watch CES yourself I don't see anywhere where it says you paid by the hour
  • Yeah if you read up on the release its 25 dollars for 20 hours using a 1060 or 10 hours using a 1080
  • If you didn't have to also buy the games, then I would consider this.  I probably game three or four times a year when the stars align (i.e. the wife and kids are away, work is slow, the dog doesn't need to go out, the weather is crappy, nothing needs fixing around the house) so I'm an outlier and hopefully not the target market they have in mind.  But I just spent $25 to go to the movies and have a popcorn and a soda. If I could spend the same money and enjoy the most powerful gaming experience available just a few times a year I'd consider it money well spent.  
  • I am hijacking your comment. Does anyone know what that **** in that picture on the top left of Richard's photo is from? EDIT: Never mind. I see it now. I had to scroll up a bit on the photo to see the Hydra part.
  • When in India?
  • This is the futureeeee
  • This is the futureeeee
  • First, I wouldn't be gaming on a tablet, not even my Surface Pro.  Second, even if I did, I can't see justification for paying a monthly fee to access games I already own.  Third, what's the deal with different tiers of access depending upon what graphics card you have?
  • Yet you decided to complain anyway. Congrats!
  • He always does.
  • Tell you what, you set up a data center in your house and let every one use it for free.
  • It's not about the graphics card you have, it's about the graphics card you "rent", clearly it's aimed at ppl who don't have a gaming machine or ppl who wanna play 4k games with a lesser gaming PC, I am not sure if the internet connection would support 4k game streaming ...
  • This will be the future of Xbox Live. In 8 to 10 years.
  • No.... In 8 to 10 years we all will be wearing cyber-VR-suits and interact with a virtual gaming world. Some people will escape the real world and live there forever.   Fantasy and reality will be separated by a very thin line.  
  • yeah I like the gamer movie too
  • The Hentai and Porn industry will sure have a go at it!
  • ha ha ha, in a country like India and it's developing economy. As here internet connection is not just slow but it's not a stable too. even by paying hefty amount though we are not sure how connection works.
  • Very true even though im from Mumbai I don't have a good stable broadband.
  • Same as rural America. You end up paying $40 a month for service that drops all the time and max speed is 180KB/s
  • That's my point exactly, only on first world countries like US where Google Fiber allows Internet speeds of 100Mb/s cloud gaming is possible.  I have 6Mb/s at home and I won't increase it just to do cloud gaming, a Xbox One S or PS4 is much better for gaming and much more cost effective where I live. Goodbye cloud gaming for now, I'm from Mexico.
  • here in romania we have 900mb download  and 900mb upload
  • I think this is a great solution for gaming on the go, but not as your everyday gaming solution. Surface Phone plus this service, I'd be all over it.
  • Edit: Now that I think about it, buying 20 hours of game play would cost me $25. It would probably take me 6 months to play 20 hours of games. (I lead a busy life and don't game as much as i would like to.) Therefore, for me, this could be a primary gaming solution, especially since I wouldn't have to buy a gaming rig.
  • How great would this be for traveling on the holidays or, in some cases, traveling in general. For me it's not a primary service but if the place I'm going to has good internet...
  • Exactly.
  • I think if the price was right this would allow for low spec PCs with the storage and CPU being augmented by the cloud. Could open up the option for people to spend more on GPU hardware and less on the other components but alas suspect the price will never be competitive enough and the world just changes to much. The PC market is on the rise so making it available now makes sense. To be honest we talk about price but when you see the PC rigs folks have at events like insomnia you do wonder where they get the money from as I cannot afford what they have.
  • Isn't gaming on a console like Xbox One much more cost effective? Imagine you are playing a game for 1 year, in average the game costs $15 bucks, if you rent the service multiple the months you will pay for the cloud game and also multiply the Internet service which will be expensive, you'll need at least 100Mb/s speeds to play AAA games in the cloud with integrated graphics like the one on Surface Pro 
  • Would you need 100 down? Isn't Netflix streaming like 15/16 down on 4k content?
  • Not sure, but all I know is that I get great 1080p performance from Netflix on 24Mb/s speed DSL; and that's all I'd ever need for gaming at this time.
  • 4K movies are static content, games need fast network so your Xbox Controller send the signal into Nvidia datacenters, process the signals of movement and sends the data back into the internet and Nvidia software process it so you see your heroe moving on the TV, this is the issue with cloud gaming.  As an example try gaming using Miracast, and you'll see lag even on Wireless N routers , and this is something that doesn't happen when you play on a local gaming console.
  • Very good point. I didn't see any mention of minimum recommended connection speeds either. I guess we all have wait before getting too excited.
  • Actually. the minimum for those looking to get a peek is 25 mbps down and the same up (average for cable, though fiber is, naturally, faster). You can use Web-based tools (such as SpeedTest) to see if YOUR connection cuts the mustard.  The two big problems will be lag and bufferbloat (both of which are minuses for ANY broadband connection); this is something that can be tested for, though - SpeedTest also checks connection quality).
  • Just found it. 25Mb/s connection appears to be the minimum requirement.
  • I have unlimited 200mb for £30/month. The UK is amazing for Broadband. Everyone is unlimited now.
  • Well, Australia is screwed then. Unless you use mobile data.
  • You know what this service would be perfect with? Xbox Play Anywhere. So people like myself with the One and an Ultrabook/Tablet can get a few hours of FH3 or GoW4 in when out and about. I would love this for my breaks at work getting a quick horde game in or whatever. Microsoft/Nvidia need to open this up to Windows Store games.
  • They won't. NVidia turned their back on consoles at the beginning of the gen. AMD might do something though. They have both the Sony and MS deals.
  • But technically this would have nothing to do with consoles, I'm talking the Windows Store.
  • Yeah this pay by the hour thing like Sony do with PSNOW is a kick in the face to gamers.