NVIDIA thinks outside the box with its new GeForce NOW PC game-streaming service.
Coming way out of left field, NVIDIA have just accounted a subscription-based, cloud-powered, game-streaming service dubbed GeForce NOW. Unlike OnLive and other similar alternatives, with GeForce NOW you aren't leasing a gaming library, you're leasing a virtual GeForce-powered computer in the cloud.
Basically, you provide the games, NVIDIA provides the hardware horsepower to run them on any PC or Mac with a 25 Mbps or faster internet connection. Apparently, all you need to do is sign up for the service, get the GeForce NOW application, and install your games - up to 1TB worth - onto the virtual gaming PC. The games can from any source, be it Steam, Origin, Uplay, GOG or Battle.net games. Once loaded, the games will actually remain installed on your virtual PC in the cloud, so no need to reinstall every time you want to play. You also don't need to worry about patching, game configuring and driver updating as it is handled automatically. Saved games, achievements and other settings are also automatically synchronized, and available on any PC with the GeForce NOW app and a fast enough connection. We might have been stretching the truth with the "any PC" part, since the service is currently limited to the continental United States.
Now while NVIDIA is claiming that the games will be run off GeForce GTX 1060 or GTX 1080 gaming PCs hosted in the cloud, the service is obviously not run on actual gaming PCs. You're just borrowing a tiny fraction of a percent of computing power from one of NVIDIA's Pascal GPU-powered data centers. However, the concept is pretty awesome, especially if the gameplay ends being smooth.
According to NVIDIA, there are 1 billion PC users who don't have a computer that is suitable for gaming. As a result, GeForce NOW might be a perfect solution for those with underpowered laptops, old obsolete desktops, or just about any Mac computer ever made since they have never had a great selection of game titles available. However, perfect solutions are never free. Using the GeForce NOW service to instantly connect to a high-performance gaming machine in the cloud is going to cost you a bit of money. $25 will buy you 20 hours of game time on a GTX 1060-powered PC or just 10 hours on a GTX 1080. If you do the math, that comes out to between $1.25 to $2.50 per hour, which is still much cheaper than most other forms of entertainment.
NVIDIA will be offering free trials of both the GTX 1060 and 1080 options, so go add yourself to the early access waiting list if you want to give this new service a try sometime in March.