Is Nvidia's GeForce Now cloud gaming worth it?
PCWorld|December 2021
How it works, potential drawbacks, and price
THIAGO TREVISAN

Nvidia’s GeForce Now is a cloud streaming service that targets the current weak spot in the market: hardware availability and pricing. Essentially, you pay a subscription fee for the ability to use Nvidia’s Superpod computers to stream games from your library in lieu of having a physical GPU in your PC at home. The company recently announced an RTX 3080 tier, which claims lower latency and ray tracing–enabled performance. We will discuss how it works, potential drawbacks, and price. The technology is very exciting, but can it replace a real GPU during the great shortage? Let’s find out!

HOW DOES IT WORK?

By utilizing Superpod computers with 1,000 GPUs in each (if you opt for the top RTX 3080 tier [fave.co/3kyQJz9]), Nvidia leverages cloud streaming to allow you to access your game libraries (such as Steam, Epic games, and so on). You can play on a variety of devices, too. Old Apple MacBook? Sure, that works. How about an old clunker PC with a 5-year-old GPU? That’s fine, too. Even your browser can now be a powerful PC! Essentially, this is hardware as a service, in contrast to software as a service like what we’re used to with Netflix and its ilk.

What are your options? Nvidia offers a free basic tier, which limits you to one-hour sessions and entry-level hardware. You can upgrade to the Priority tier, which will cost you $49.99 for six months. With this, you get extended sessions of six hours and more powerful RTX 2080–level hardware. You’ll max out at around 1080p, 60fps. The new RTX 3080 tier will cost $99 for six months, but you’ll be upgraded to 1440p 120fps on most devices. With an Nvidia Shield, you’ll even be able to do 4K with HDR! Eight-hour sessions are allotted for the long-haul gamers here as well.

THE PROS AND CONS OF GEFORCE NOW CLOUD GAMING

Streaming RTX 3000–level GPU performance sure sounds a lot easier than waiting days in line at your local store to pick one up, doesn’t it? Let’s examine the pros and cons for the service:

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