Google launched its cloud-streaming Stadia platform last year. There was a bit of fanfare, and the platform – for the most part – works. Unfortunately, Google’s botched it a bit regarding communication. They’ve largely been quiet, releasing drips of information through Reddit and discord. That’s barely good enough for a new platform; there’s been no evolution since its launch last year, no timeline of expected features and there’s been nothing but crickets regarding platform exclusives, or indeed games in general, with Google suggesting that it’s up to publishers to announce games. It’s a hands-off approach that even the most ardent Stadia fans can’t be happy with.
Stadia’s just been dealt another kick in the teeth. Nvidia’s officially launched its GeForce Now streaming platform. It’s a similar service in that it allows players to stream games they buy through GeForce now from just about any PC, removing the need for expensive hardware. As with Stadia, it’s a tiered service. There’s a free tier that lets you access your games from anywhere, but limits game sessions to just an hour. There’s a $5 per month service that gives you priority access and extended session length but also uses top tier hardware in the cloud, even enabling advanced features like RTX.
It also has a feature that could punch Stadia in the arm and steal its lunch money; it links up with existing services like Steam and Epic, letting you play games you’ve already purchased on those platforms without having to buy them twice.
“That’s why we’re working with existing PC game stores and publishers. With GeForce NOW, you can keep playing the games you already own and continue building libraries from the same stores you already use every day. That’s what it means to be an open platform.
If you buy it, you own it. If you already own it, play it. Your purchases are always yours.”
It won’t bring your entire Steam library through, but has enough games that you won’t feel like it’s a barren platform. On top of that, GeForce Now has a library that includes many of the popular free-to-play games – so folk can get in a lunch-time hour of Fortnite, for example, without having to download and install the actual client.
If anything, it’s a call to arms that should improve the stadia experience for those who’ve bought into Google’s streaming tech, just by existing. Stadia’s going to have to step up and step up fast. If they don’t it’ll end up as the next service on Google’s already extensive graveyard.
“We view cloud gaming as a journey. We’ve been at it for about five years. It’s not an easy technology to get to scale and working with publishers is not easy to scale either. And we view this as a ten year project, honestly, so we’re not too concerned about the timing,” said Phil Eisler, vice president and general manager of GeForce Now, on launching months after Stadia. “We think we’re the best choice for PC games.”
Of course, this is all moot for those of us in South Africa, as neither service is available here.
IT’S FINE WE DIDN’T WANT THEM ANYWAY! *sniff*
Last Updated: February 5, 2020