Over the past few years, streaming has gradually become the dominant way of enjoying media. Without any big announcement or launch, services such as Spotify and Netflix have become part of our lives, making it easy to instantly access huge libraries of music, movies and TV shows at a reasonable price and without having to amass an enormous pile of physical media or wait for downloads.
Streaming games over the Internet is a more challenging puzzle compared to streaming movies and music, however. And NVIDIA solved it with a unique combination of advanced gaming supercomputers in cloud datacenters and low-latency optimizations for encoding and decoding that make the experience feel just like playing a game locally on a console in your living room.
The company has launched its own commercial cloud-gaming service called GeForce NOW, and it’s available now, exclusively on the SHIELD platform. Members can access the service to stream a collection of more than 60 popular PC games that you’d otherwise need a top-end rig to play. NVIDIA’s cloud gaming servers do the heavy lifting, turning up all those detail settings and encoding every frame in an instant, and then flinging the results across the Internet to SHIELD devices at up to 60 fps nd a1080P, without latency getting in the way and ruining your fun. No other game-streaming service currently offers this level of performance.
The service is launching with 60-plus games available to dip into as you like on NVIDIA SHIELD, with something to match every gaming mood. It packs big-name action games such as Borderlands, Red Faction: Armageddon, Dead Rising 2 and Bionic Commando, alongside more adventurous titles like Alan Wake, Brutal Legend, Psychonauts and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.
If you’ve a taste for racing games then you’re spoiled for choice, with the likes of GRID 2, MotoGP 15, F1 2010 and Toybox Turbos leading the pack. If arcade action is more your thing then you’ll find PixelJunk Shooter, Astebreed, Ultra Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter X Tekken.
And if NVIDIA has plans to set itself up as the Netflix of gaming then it’s on the right track, with a bunch of series available to provide the gaming equivalent of box set binging: three of the Batman Arkham series including the critically acclaimed Arkham City, a whole swathe of LEGO games, two helpings of Darksiders and, best of all, The Witcher 2 with this year’s blockbuster, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on GeForce NOW.
That’s hundreds of hours of gaming on-demand, and there are plenty more games to follow: look out for Mad Max, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and LEGO Jurassic World in the near future. Check out the full list of games here.
Naturally you’ll need a reasonably strong Internet connection to make the most of it. NVIDIA recommends a minimum broadband speed of at least 10Mbps, and a SHIELD-Ready 5 GHz Wi-Fi router, to stream at 720p resolution and 60 fps (frames per second). A minimum connection speed of 25Mbps is required to stream at 1080p resolution and 60 fps.
You’ll also need to get your hands on an NVIDIA SHIELD. The latest model, SHIELD Android TV, is a beast of a set-top box powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 processor that’s built for high-end gaming and absolutely perfect for getting the very best out of GeForce NOW. It’s also a full-featured home entertainment hub that can pump out 4K video and 7:1 surround sound. It comes complete with its own high precision controller, and it’s available now with prices starting at $199.
You can join GeForce NOW for a reasonable price of $7.99 a month with the first three months available to try out for free. To find out more about how GeForce NOW enables you to enjoy gaming instantly, without all the hassle of discs, downloads, installations and patches, get more details here.