Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service got a huge upgrade this October with its RTX 3080 tier. “Nvidia just kicked Google’s butt,” I declared at the time. My colleague Tom Warren was wowed as well. But if you went to sign up, you might have found yourself facing a preorder page — yes, preorders to effectively rent time on a server in the cloud. Today, that should no longer be a problem: Nvidia now says the RTX 3080 waitlist is gone.
To catch you up, Nvidia’s GeForce Now is a bring-your-own-games service that supports many (but definitely not all) of your existing Steam, Epic, and Ubisoft Connect / Uplay PC games, letting you play them over the internet from what’s effectively an Nvidia GPU-equipped gaming PC in the cloud. You can stream them to an aging Windows laptop, MacBook, Android phone, or even iPhones using a web browser workaround, as well as set-top boxes like Nvidia’s own Shield TV and Shield TV Pro.
If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend testing out the free tier of GeForce Now first to make sure you’re within range of Nvidia’s servers and that your home internet and Wi-Fi is competent. Still, you should know that Nvidia’s three tiers are definitely not created equal — not only is the new 3080 tier the only one that’s going to competently deliver 1440p and beyond gaming on new titles, the latency is greatly reduced. It’s just a better experience all around, and I’m starting to think Nvidia should give you a taste of that instead.
You should know that you’ll only get the best streaming quality — 4K — if you’ve got Nvidia’s own Shield TV set-top box or tube-shaped HDMI dongle, because Nvidia hasn’t expanded that offering to any other devices yet. Perhaps that’s why Nvidia’s offering $20 (or £20, or €25, or $30 CAD) off both of those devices this week. (You can find that same price on the Shield TV tube fairly often, but it’s rare to get a sale on the Shield TV Pro.)
For now, you’ll also get a free copy of Crysis Remastered when you sign up for a paid subscription.
I can’t wholeheartedly recommend GeForce Now yet because it doesn’t play quite enough of my Steam library and I did manage to get my hands on a new video card for my PC, but I could see others diving in who can’t find or afford them right now. If you do wind up diving in and loving or hating it, would you drop me a line next spring?