Nvidia GeForce Now is going to worsen before it gets better.
Nvidia’s game streaming service, GeForce Now, is moving to a new library opt-in system, one who will hand videogame developers ultimate control over whether their videogames are supported on the platform or not.
It appears as though Nvidia’s dream of an open gaming PC in the sky is well and truly over—big publishers have kicked up such a fuss that it is now relinquishing any control it once had over which games make it onto the GeForce Now service. From here on out, it’s up to publishers and developers to opt-in and allows their videogames to be beamed from one of Nvidia’s datacentres.
In turn, that means some videogames will leave the GeForce Now platform, at least for the time being. The reason for which, Nvidia cites in a blog post, is that “some publishers are still figuring out their cloud strategies.” These changes may take place from May 31.
It’s a troubling sign for cloud gaming services. You can call me naive, and perhaps I’m turning a blind eye to the specifics of EULAs. Still, I don’t see what difference there is between the gaming PC sat under your desk and one which you’re renting from Nvidia—either way you’re still buying the games through the same channels as before: Steam, Origin, Epic Games Store, GOG, etc.
That’s what separates Nvidia GeForce Now from a service such as Google Stadia. Whereas Stadia has a store and requires studios to develop their games specially for the service, GeForce Now is more or less a promise of compatible and capable hardware. The machine you receive (either for free or for a small fee) is conceptually the same as any gaming PC and maintains the equal access to the full range of digital libraries. For example, it’s just made up of a sliver of a server rack instead of individual components.
Whether you play the videogames that you’ve already purchased via a rented server or a home-built PC shouldn’t matter. And it’s not like anyone seems to care about the eleventy other streaming services that offer the same thing as GeForce Now….
What is GeForce?
GeForce is a brand of GPUs or graphics processing units designed by Nvidia. As of the GeForce 20 Superseries, there have been sixteen iterations of the design. Later diversification of the product line covered every tier of the PC graphics market, ranging from cost-sensitive. GPUs integrated on motherboards to mainstream add-in local boards.
Most recently, GeForce technology has been introduced into Nvidia’s line of embedded application processors, designed for electronic handhelds and mobile handsets.
The first GeForce products were discrete GPUs designed for add-on graphics boards, intended for the high-margin PC gaming market.
Concerning discrete GPUs, found in add-in graphics-boards, Nvidia’s GeForce and AMD’s Radeon GPUs are the only remaining competitors in the high-end market. Along with its nearest competitor, the AMD Radeon, the GeForce architecture is moving toward general-purpose graphics processor unit (GPGPU).
GPGPU is expected to expand GPU functionality beyond the traditional rasterization of 3D graphics, to turn it into a high-performance computing device able to execute arbitrary programming code. It is in the same way a CPU does, but with different strengths (highly parallel execution of straightforward calculations) and weaknesses (worse performance for complex branching code).