Nvidia GeForce Now aims to be the ‘Netflix of games’ for just 8 bucks

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

NVIDIA GeForce NOW coming October 1st, the next generation of game streaming.

Nvidia launched its Shield Android TV set-top box back in May, but one of the prime benefits is coming on Thursday with the launch of Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service.Nvidia on Wednesday laid out its plans to become the “Netflix of games,” with a new streaming service for its line of Shield devices that will cost $8 and starts with a three-month free trial.

If you have owned or followed any of the devices in the NVIDIA SHIELD family then you are probably familiar with the NVIDIA GRID service: “Netflix for games” has been the NVIDIA pitch since the beginning. Called GeForce Now, the service lets players stream from a library of games to the company’s Shield console, the Shield Tablet or Shield Portable gaming units. GeForce NOW will be made available on October 1 through an update that is coming to the SHIELD Hub app on NVIDIA SHIELD tablets, portables and Android TV consoles.

Its GeForce Now service is a from-the-ground-up reimagining of the Grid streaming service, and it’s meant to provide a Netflix-like gaming experience for Shield devices. Originally launched in San Jose back in December of 2013, the service went nationwide in the U.S. in November last year and continued to expand into western Europe and Asia.

The vision of GeForce Now, as the name implies, is that gamers can plop down on the couch and fire up a title in less than 30 seconds—even big, complex triple-A releases. SHIELD owners have enjoyed this beta iteration for free and NVIDIA built GeForce NOW based on what they learned from those hundreds of thousands of GRID users. NVIDIA has tinkered around with the GRID gaming platform for a couple of years now and GeForce Now is the final product that runs on the latest platform and architecture.

Nvidia believes that, for some consumers, that prospect is more appealing than waiting hours for a huge PC game to download or shuffling those huge programs on and off an SSD. A GeForce NOW subscription will be $7.99 a month, but NVIDIA is giving users the first three months free to check it out and make sure it is for them. Among the titles: Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham Origins, Dead Rising 2, Alan Wake, Brutal Legend, The Walking Dead: Season 1, Borderlands and several LEGO games including LEGO Lord of the Rings. GeForce Now’s back-end hardware is claimed to be faster than “next-generation consoles,” and Nvidia has pledged to continue upgrading the service’s back end over time. The cloud gaming service is named after NVIDIA’s high-end gaming graphics processors. “Those GPUs are in the cloud (and) consumers are getting that GeForce experience now streamed from the cloud to their TV instantly,” Daniel said. “The real benefit is you don’t have to worry about installing games, keeping drivers updated (or) maintaining that PC.

Register now for our GamesBeat 2015 event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we’ll explore strategies in the new world of gaming. “Apple TV has come out, but if you are an Android user, Shield is the best device for you,” said Ali Kani, general manager for Shield at Nvidia, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We like Apple TV because it confirms our theory that the smart TV category is exciting.” We all expected Nvidia to launch GeForce Now with the Shield itself, but the company did more testing than expected. Within 30 seconds you are playing the game.” Members can also buy and immediately stream and play new and recent releases such as Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Saints Row IV and LEGO Jurassic World. Nvidia has a team of content curators sniffing out new games for the service, and the fruits of their labor are supposed to be added to the service every Tuesday.

What’s more, Nvidia is working on a storefront for marquee releases from major publishers, where gamers will be able to purchase streaming rights for those major releases and begin playing them right away. Similarly, since the Shield is an Android TV device, you can choose from the 900 or so Android TV apps available including FX Now, CBS All Access and Sling TV. Other Shield console entertainment options include streaming Ultra HD content from Netflix, built-in Google Chromecast functionality, voice control and viewing live over-the-air local TV broadcasts. The Shield outdoes the processing power of the new Apple TV since it has the new Tegra X1 mobile processor — with a 256-core Nvidia graphics processing unit (GPU) and a 64-bit central processing unit (CPU). NVIDIA views streaming as an advantage over the consoles as they are able to constantly update the backend, as they have in upgrading to GeForce NOW from GRID and already are eclipsing the hardware on current generation consoles.

It should also be noted that the SHIELD and SHIELD Pro are finally available in Europe and that they will also be ready for purchase on Oct. 1 in the U.K., France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. GeForce Now (formerly known as GeForce Grid) has more than 50 popular PC games available, including titles from the Batman, Lego, Witch, and Resident Evil series. That work, as well as better bandwidth, means you could play a game like Batman: Arkham Knight, which takes 213 minutes to download, in a matter of seconds or minutes via the cloud. Unlike Netflix, which has a flat fee for all content, Nvidia said it’s adding a new storefront that will let gamers play new releases immediately after purchase.

Shield is now available in Google Fiber Spaces (which provides bandwidth at 1 gigabit per second) such as Provo, Utah; Kansas City, Missouri; and Austin, Texas. It provides movie-watching at 23.976 fps playback, and hardware acceleration support for video codec formats such as VC-1 (including M2TS and ASF/WMV container support), MPEG-2 and WMV9.

Eisler said that average broadband speeds are rapidly improving, particularly Nvidia now has access to a lot of cloud-gaming data center locations around the world, said Eisler. “The question is not if, but when cloud gaming will take off,” Eisler said. “I feel like we have the GPU requirements and the bandwidth to put cloud gaming onto an exponential growth curve.”

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