Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service is launching on Google Chromebooks. GeForce Now is available in beta form on Chrome OS, the cloud-based operating system powering Chromebooks. It transforms distance learning into distance gaming.
Chromebooks are often used in educational or corporate settings, but they are usually underpowered when it comes to playing games. That makes them an ideal target platform for GeForce Now, which does the heavy-duty computing in the cloud and sends video for display on any computer or Android mobile device.
“We want to make sure that you always have access to the indie games, and we ensure that we work with these PC game developers and have no additional support needs,” GeForce Now senior product manager Andrew Fear said in a press briefing. “We give you instant access to all your games. We give you a GeForce gaming PC in the cloud.”
To sign up, players can go to play.geforcenow.com, log in, and sign up for memberships that cost $5 a month or a special offer of $25 for six months. GeForce Now doesn’t use an app on Chromebooks. You just connect to the browser. The timing might be good because distance learning, which Chromebooks are often used for, has multiplied during the pandemic. On the other hand, if parents don’t want their kids to be playing when they should be learning, that could be a problem.
Still, it might be a better deal to sign up for GeForce Now on a $300 Chromebook than to buy a $1,000-plus heavy-duty gaming PC or laptop for a family member. After all, kids can study in the day and play at night. That’s the whole appeal of cloud-gaming services like GeForce Now, Microsoft’s Project xCloud, and Google Stadia.
“When they’re done with their homework at school, they can now do streaming on that notebook and play games,” Fear said.
Since the game is stored in the cloud, players can switch devices easily without losing their progress. It’s possible games may run slower than usual, depending on how good your latency on your internet connection is and whether or not a bunch of people are using your network at home. But that’s a problem most online games have these days.
In the weeks ahead, Nvidia is also bringing Ansel, its high-resolution in-game camera that lets people take professional-grade screenshots, to GeForce Now. It joins Highlights videos and Freestyle game customization as GeForce Now features.
Nvidia said that it is supporting CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 on GeForce Now. More than 650 games are instantly available on GeForce Now, including 70 free-to-play games like Fortnite.
Ubisoft’s Hyper Scape launched last week on GeForce Now as well as PC and console platforms. GeForce Now runs on the PC, Mac, Shield, and Android devices. But Nvidia hasn’t been able to convince Apple to let it run on iOS devices.
To play the games, users will have a better experience with a USB mouse, Nvidia said. Google’s own cloud gaming service, Stadia, is also available on Chrome OS. But since it’s an open platform, Google hasn’t objected to GeForce Now being available on Chromebooks. Nvidia noted that testing so far has shown that Intel-based laptops and Chromebooks support GeForce Now, while ARM-based laptops do not.
GeForce Now uses 22 datacenters around the world and is available in 70 countries.