Computer hardware company NVIDIA (NVDA -2.68%) has officially launched its long-awaited GeForce Now, bringing the power of high-end graphics processors to devices that may lack graphics cards altogether. The end result is an impressive video gaming experience on devices like the iPhone, Android smartphones, and laptops built largely without gamers in mind.
Built to be better
GeForce Now spent roughly two years in beta testing, even as rivals Alphabet (GOOGL -1.96%) (GOOG -2.02%) and Microsoft (MSFT -1.43%) launched competing services called Stadia and a beta test of xCloud (respectively) to perfect GeForce Now's underlying technologies. Gamers may ultimately decide it was worth the wait, however, for two reasons.
Chief among them is the concurrent development of the interface with hardware strategically located at data centers. NVIDIA already makes graphics cards found within personal computers, as well as hardware for data centers. Extracting remote performance played into the company's core competency.
The second reason NVIDIA may be able to edge out similar services like xCloud and Stadia is the selection of titles game players will be able to access. Not only can games be purchased through the new app, but gamers will be able to access cloud-based games they already own through platforms like Steam or Battle.net.
GeForce Now is presently offered at two price points, the lower of which is free, but with restrictions. The higher-priced one costs $4.99 per month, offering unfettered access to Nvidia's data centers that handle the computing load. Even so, NVIDIA says that monthly fee will rise at some point. For comparison, Google's Stadia costs gamers $9.99 per month, although a free version is in the works.
While the definition of "cloud gaming" remains relatively loose as the area expands, Mordor Intelligence says the market was worth $1.15 billion last year.