Here's the pitch: A service that allows you to stream videogames to be able to be played on any device you own. This is what everyone had hoped for when Google launched Stadia, though it was not to be. Like other services that came before, the service was very limited. The biggest limitation is that you have to get the game from Google Stadia, whether you already own it or not. It also meant that if Google didn't support the game, you couldn't play it. However, GeForce Now has taken a different approach.
Play your games
Nvidia's been testing its game streaming platform, GeForce Now, for about a month in closed beta, and years before that in various states. This platform sets itself apart from the rest of the pack in several important ways. The most important is that the games library is not closed, like with Stadia. Instead, you can play games from the markets that you already use.
The platform, which left closed beta this week, currently supports the most important game marketplaces: Steam, Epic Games Store, Battle.net, and Uplay. It runs an instance of the store, under your credentials, in the cloud, and uses that account to install and stream the game. Because of this model, it means that you can sync your saved games from these stores and pick up where you left off.
Play where you want
Another of Stadia's major drawbacks was the questionable device support. For a platform billed as play anywhere, you couldn't play on many devices. With GeForce Now, the supported device list is extensive. For Android, the minimum system requirements are "An Android phone with 2GB with Android 5.0 (L) or later, and OpenGL ES3.2 support or higher." To put the device age into perspective, Android 10 is the current version.
The most prominent downside to the platform is a lack of iOS support. That means that iPhone and iPad owners are currently out in the dark. This could be for several reasons, the most likely of which is Apple's previous removal of similar apps from the App Store. It might also involve Apple's controller support limitations. But, for those with Windows, Mac, Android, or Shield, you can play now.
One surprising aspect of GeForce Now is the price. The company currently offers a free option, which allows for 1-hour gaming sessions, or $5 per month for extended sessions and priority access.