Cloud Computing Outlook

Nvidia Launches GeForce Now to Compete with Google Stadia

By Cloud Computing Outlook | Friday, March 27, 2020

The 'Founders' paid version can be availed for a charge of USD 5 per month, inclusive of 6 hours of game time and priority access to the servers. Along with the 30 plus free games available on the platform, users can also run pre-owned games.

FREMONT, CA: Cloud-based services are becoming an essential part of every business, gaining traction in recent years. The concept of cloud-based gaming has been trending for quite some time now and took shape with the launch of Google Stadia in late 2019. The idea is to put the high performance compute part of gaming in the cloud, which would result in more efficient use of hardware and the ability to further gaming content to a much larger audience, beyond gaming PCs and consoles. However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Many companies have tried in the past and failed at the same. This can be primarily attributed to the lack of cloud storage facilities and adequate data centres. The bright side is that console gaming companies have started to roll out cloud gaming services, which could make consoles a thing of the past very soon.

Graphic processing unit giant Nvidia announced that it would launch cloud-based gaming services back in 2013. The company finally made this service public and moved it out of the beta platform. The delay in the launch was to acquire partners across the globe to access cloud storage facilities and data centres. Besides, the company also integrated the RTX graphics line that can support ray-traced graphics. The Nvidia GeForce Now program could pose a serious competition to Google Stadia, both in terms of features and cost-efficiency.

Nvidia offers a free version of the service which allows one hour of gaming time with access GeForce Now Servers. The 'Founders' paid version can be availed for a charge of USD 5 per month, inclusive of 6 hours of game time and priority access to the servers. Along with the 30 plus free games available on the platform, users can also run pre-owned games. The service is compatible only with Windows systems and does not require a separate console to operate.

In contrast, the Google Stadia requires the purchase of a separate console and runs on a custom AMD Radeon GPU with an x86 CPU running a Linux operating system. Google Stadia is not compatible with Windows systems and requires publishers to port their games to run on the Linux platform, which very few publishers currently do. The Google platform supports up to 4K HDR, 60 FPS, and 5.1 surround sound under the Stadia Pro subscription, but is highly dependent on the game content and connection quality. On the downside, Stadia does not support ray-traced games, or at least not yet.

A minimum of 10 Mbps connection speed is recommended for 1080p HD play and at least 35 Mbps connection speed is recommended for 4K play. Non-pro subscribers can experience up to 1080p and 60 FPS gaming. The Premier edition of Stadia requires an initial investment of USD 129 to get started with the custom controller and a 4K TV dongle, inclusive of a three-month trial subscription. The Google Stadia does not allow users to access their [re-owned games. In the coming few months, both platforms are expected to bring various upgrades to their respective platforms.

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