GeForce Now - The Way It's Meant to be Played?

The Way It's Meant to be Played is Nvidia's slogan used in games that are sponsored by Nvidia. I signed up for Nvidia's GeForce Now service and have been playing on it a little over the last week. I haven't really played enough for a review, or even a fair first impression. What I wanted to do first was provide some thoughts as to why I am trying Now, but not the other game streaming service.

First, I did not sign up for Google Stadia, though I was tempted at times. I'm glad I didn't. Early reviews of Stadia haven't been great. While Google has a lot of history and experience with streaming, that has been with "plain video". Live, interactive, and adaptive rendering of video games is an entirely different beast. There aren't many titles available for Stadia, and you still need to purchase the games in addition to the subscription service. There is also Google's notorious history of cancelled services. I can't help but wonder what happens should people purchase a whole bunch of games for Stadia, just to have Google decide to cancel the service a few years from now.

Let's compare and contrast the above with Nvidia's GeForce Now. Now has already been around in one form or another since 2013, giving Nvidia much more experience in this area than Google. Though Now also requires you to purchase games in addition to the subscription service, it uses game libraries that many people already have, including Steam. I have a fairly large Steam library, so I have a bunch of games I can play right out of the gate. Finally, though Nvidia has had a few products of their own that they cancelled or dropped support for, I am fairly certain their track record is better than Google's. Nvidia's awesome streaming box, the Shield TV, has received Android updates longer than any of Google's own Nexus or Pixel devices.

My current laptop (Asus GL702VM) has been really good, even though there have been a couple of frustrations along the way. I'm not really looking to buy a laptop just yet, but I think there are some promising upgrades coming to the gaming laptop market soon. Even though I want to wait until more compelling laptop upgrades are available, I can't help but want to check out some of the newer, more demanding games, and some of the games that utilize ray tracing. Enter GeForce Now. With the paid Now subscription, you are supposed to get the equivalent of an RTX 2080 GPU with all of its ray tracing capabilities, for $4.99 US / $6.49 CAD per month, and the first three months are free. The decision to try it out really is a no-brainer.