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January 5, 2017

What is Nvidia GeForce Now and how can it help you play PC games on a Mac?

by John_A

Nvidia was chosen to host the opening keynote of CES 2017 and during the presentation announced that, alongside a new version of the Nvidia Shield Android TV, it will be dramatically refreshing and updating its GeForce Now cloud gaming service.

But what is GeForce Now and why is it of particular interest to Mac owners and those with older PCs?

What is Nvidia GeForce Now?

Nvidia GeForce Now was originally launched as Nvidia Grid and has been the company’s answer to PlayStation Now for a while. It is a cloud gaming service that has given access to games stored on dedicated GeForce graphics-enabled PCs which can be played on a Shield handheld console or Shield Tablet.

However, now Nvidia has improved the technology and offers a whole new facet to the service.

The new version of GeForce Now will also be available on PC and Mac. And it will give access to games bought through Steam, GOG, Origin and other online hubs to play whenever and wherever you want. The games will also be played on a GTX 1080 PC, so you’ll get the very best experience no matter what computer you are streaming them to.

The games are stored and played remotely and video up to 1080p and in 60 frames per second is streamed to your device with control codes being sent in the opposite direction over the internet. It is an extremely low latency service so there is very little lag and it responds as if the game were stored directly on your device. In many ways, you can’t tell the difference.

How do I get it and when?

The existing Nvidia GeForce Now service is still running on the current Shield TV and Shield Tablet devices, but the new version will launch in March in the US first. We’re still waiting on launch dates for other territories.

It will just require the download of an application for your PC or Mac. It’ll be hardbaked into the new Shield Android TV.

How much does it cost?

The existing Nvidia GeForce Now costs £7.49 a month for unlimited access to around 60 games, with a further 40 or so available to purchase outright.

The new version, however, has a different payment structure as you are technically playing your own bought games, download from Steam or another supplier, through the service. You will purchase packets of credit for $25 a shot and, depending on how high-end the experience and what PC it is run on at Nvidia’s end, those credits will give you playing time.

An example given by Nvidia during its announcement event was that $25 could get you around 20 hours worth of play on a decent PC set-up.

What games are available?

The big thing about the new GeForce Now is that your own games will be available to you. So if you have a healthy library of games on Steam, Origin, GOG or whathaveyou, you can simply install them on the remote machine and play them whenever you fancy.

It dramatically opens up the potential for the service over the 100 titles previously available.

Where are my save files stored?

All of your save files are stored in the cloud so you can pick up where you left off whenever you like.

Can I use Wi-Fi and what is the minimum internet speed it works on?

Wi-Fi works well (we had the former GeForce Now service running on a Wi-Fi connection in a hotel room with no problems whatsoever) and the absolute minimum broadband speed it will work on is 1.5Mbps. However, Nvidia recommends at least 6.5Mbps if you want to maintain a stable frame rate and ensure that latency is low.

Indeed, it told us that a 10Mbps connection is ideal as then there is enough bandwidth to have at least 6.5Mbps dedicated to the experience with the rest being used by other internet connected devices at the same time.

Can I play multiplayer games?

The new GeForce Now will be compatible with multiplayer online games.

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