As bandwidth has improved, an increasing amount of the media we consume has moved onto the cloud for convenient streaming, anywhere. Services like Netflix and Hulu for movies and TV, or Spotify for music, have caused major tremors in the established media empires.
Gaming, however, has thus far resisted this trend. Although digital distribution is supplanting physical media as the chosen format for acquiring games, the unavoidably larger amounts of data throughput required to run games remotely, in contrast to traditional media, has kept cloud gaming largely out of reach.
Nvidia plans to change that, with the launch of its GeForce Now game streaming service on Oct. 1, 2015. Available only on Nvidia’s Shield family of Android-based tablets and set-top boxes, GeForce Now will stream major contemporary games at up to 4K resolution and 60 frames per second. The service will be available at launch in North America, most of Europe, and Japan/South Korea, costing $8 per month after three free months for all new users.
Users will be able to start playing within 30 seconds of selecting a game from over 50 that will be available for no additional charge to members at launch. The launch titles include recent hits such as Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Lego Jurassic Park, and the Batman: Arkham series. New games will be added in regular updates.
All of the features we have come to expect from streaming services, such as recommendations, most popular, and recent searches, will be integrated into the service, along with voice search. There will also be a storefront for new releases available to purchase at the same price as other digital retailers. A game purchase for streaming on GeForce Now also includes a PC download code, should you decide you want a local copy.
Beta tested as “Grid,” Nvidia opted to change the service’s name for its official launch in order to leverage the GeForce brand, which is well known and respected within the PC gaming community. GeForce Now joins nearly 1,000 other apps for Shield, such as HBO Now and CBS All Access, giving it a unique edge among Android set-top boxes for gamers who don’t necessarily want to deal with the hassle of a full PC or console. We will be getting some hands-on time with GeForce Now on Shield in the next few days, and will have our impressions for you then.