Everything indicates that video game services in the cloud are the future. Google kicked off with Stadia, but since then the cloud gaming market has evolved by welcoming other contenders with equally powerful platforms or more, as is the case with Microsoft’s xCloud, Amazon Luna -which is still in beta phase- Y GeForce NOW, NVIDIA’s interesting bet to play in the cloud from any device.
The case of GeForce NOW is one of those that a priori has the greatest potential, since its game catalog is fed by Steam, in addition to the libraries of Ubisoft Connect, Epic Games and Origin by Electronic Arts. Something that can undoubtedly be of great interest to longtime gamers who have been greasing their PC games for years, allowing new playable environments for their favorite titles.
To get the pulse of the service, we have been testing GeForce NOW for the last few weeks with a specific focus on the mobile playability of the platform. For this we have taken advantage of the recent departure of Watch Dogs: Legion to dive into the new Ubisoft title from an Android terminal and bring you our impressions about it.
Differences between GeForce NOW and other cloud gaming services like Stadia
The first contact with NVIDIA GeForce NOW can be a bit confusing, since it works in a quite different way than other perhaps more well-known services such as Google Stadia. While Stadia is still a store, where in the end what we do is buy games in digital format to be able to enjoy them online from Google’s servers, with GeForce NOW we have opted for a different approach.
With NVIDIA what we have is a pure and simple cloud gaming service. That is, GeForce NOW does not sell any games, within the platform you cannot purchase any title. They simply provide you with the infrastructure so that you can play in the cloud from any device. They reach agreements with companies such as Steam, Epic, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft to upload their games to the NVIDIA cloud and from there the user can play just by linking their account in the corresponding store.
Be careful, this does not mean that the entire Steam catalog or the rest of the stores is available on GeForce NOW. Currently NVIDIA has more than 230 compatible games, although it is a list that, at least for now, does not stop growing at a constant rate with many new releases and quality titles.
We are talking about first-rate games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Marvel’s Avengers, Ghostrunner, free games like Apex Legends or Rocket League, casuals like Among Us, indie titles like Street’s of Rage 4 or Overcooked and modern classics like the Guilty Gear saga and The Witcher 3, among many other AAA games. In this sense, NVIDIA is assembling a very careful catalog, this being one of its greatest incentives to subscribe to the service at first.
In fact, this is one of the most notable advantages over Stadia, and that is that, if in the future GeForce NOW closes and goes to hell, the user would not be harmed since they would not lose any games. Your Steam games will continue to be there and you can continue playing from your computer without problem (which would not happen in a hypothetical closure of Stadia, of course).
Requirements and gaming set
GeForce NOW offers two types of subscriptions: one free with standard access and sessions with a maximum duration of one hour, and then we have the Founders subscription, which is priced at € 5.49 / month (€ 4.57 / month if we contract the 6-month bonus) with unlimited sessions and RTX, the AI ray tracing technology developed by Nvidia.
In addition to that we will also need a controller to play from the mobile and a good wireless Internet connection. If we are looking for the best possible experience it is interesting to take a look at THIS PAGE where we can see the routers and gamepads recommended by Nvidia itself.
In our case we have used a premium gamepad model RAZER Kishi, which is specifically designed for Android mobiles and has a USB C port that allows really low latencies, in addition to having a consistent and quality finish. A seamless controller, being today one of our favorite controls to achieve a console experience on mobile terminals.
Playing Watch Dogs: Legion from Android
Less than a month since the launch of Watch Dogs: Legion, so we found it interesting to test the effectiveness of Nvidia’s proposal in a cloud gaming environment like the one we just mentioned.
To give you an idea of the difference between the standard subscription and the founders, with the free plan the waiting time to start playing Watch Dogs from the Nvidia servers was about 20 minutes, although this figure varied depending on the time and day of the week, with Saturday and Sunday being the days with the longest queues, and the fastest days on weekdays in the morning and noon (sometimes with connection times of 7 minutes).
Also keep in mind that we have been testing a new game, so we understand that with other titles the waiting time could be significantly reduced. In any case, once our account has been updated to founders access is always instantThis being the biggest advantage of the platform’s premium service, and that changes the experience to simply unquestionable levels.
The quality of the Wi-Fi signal is another of the key points, and if we do not want to suffer jerks or pixelated graphics, it is imperative that it be of quality, either by placing us near the router or using a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection.
Once inside the game, we find a narrative that is very attractive at first. We start by controlling Dalton, a kind of James Bond who enters the parliament of a dystopian London to prevent a terrorist attack. We are part of Dedsec, an organization of anti-system hackers who “charge the dead” of that attack, and from there we will witness the development of a plot full of government secrets, paramilitary groups and the darkest secrets that are becoming increasingly common. they are getting bigger.
The great incentive of this new installment of Watch Dogs is in your recruiting system, where we can add to our ranks any NPC that we can find in the detailed open world that the city of London offers and control it to carry out the various missions that Ubisoft poses in this title. Each of these characters has their own characteristics and abilities: some have a gun, others have a car, others are policemen and can help us to infiltrate official facilities more easily, others are diplomats, etc. Of course all these characters are cannon fodder, so as they die we will have to recruit new members for the team, which in the end makes you not get attached to the characters, since they are constantly replaced. Of course, the approach is the most interesting. You can see that the developer has tried to do something fresh and different from what has already been seen in Watch Dogs 2.
Another point to highlight is the incredible graphics that the game treasures, with a semi-futuristic London that is a real joy to behold. If to this we also add Nvidia’s RTX ray tracing, the visual result ends up being the most remarkable, especially when we play from a mobile phone. Seeing graphics of this caliber on a mobile screen is undoubtedly shocking.
And this is another detail that developers should take into account when launching new titles: mobile phones. If cloud gaming becomes a standard (something that is already happening) and PC games can be transferred to the mobile format naturally, it would be interesting if both the menus and the in-game texts that appear on the screen were adapted to this type of devices with larger fonts and legible fonts. It is not the same to play a game on a PC monitor that can be more than 20 inches, or on a TV twice as large, as doing it on the 6-inch screen of the mobile. It is still a detail, but it is certainly a factor that will have to be addressed in the years to come.
NVIDIA is betting heavily on cloud gaming with GeForce NOW, a service that offers a platform to play our PC titles on Steam, Ubisoft Connect, Epic Store and EA Origin in the cloud with a very careful catalog. The subscription can be free, although from here we recommend opting for the paid version, which apart from offering the full experience, is the cheapest alternative on the market at the moment within cloud gaming.
With regard to mobile gameplay, it is essential to have good controls and a good Internet connection. Of course, once these two requirements are met, the result is simply impressive, turning our Android terminal into a video game console capable of offering triple A games like this Watch Dogs: Legion with hardly any mess. A turning point for the world of video games that is yet to come.
NVIDIA GeForce NOW Subscription Page
Watch Dogs: Legion Profile on the Ubisoft Store