Hands-On With NVIDIA's GeForce Now Streaming Game Service

Back in 2017, NVIDIA announced the launch of its GeForce Now streaming gaming service, which it made available in a beta capacity.

After years of testing, polishing, and refining, the GeForce Now service saw its official launch on February 4, so we thought we'd go hands-on with GeForce Now to see how it works on Apple's Macs.


GeForce Now is a streaming gaming service that lets you play GPU and CPU intensive games on Macs that might not be able to natively handle the hardware requirements for a particular title.

All rendering and computing is handled by NVIDIA's servers, where the games are installed. Gameplay is then streamed to your computer, so naturally, a robust internet connection is required to make sure there's no lag.

There's a free version of the GeForce Now service, which provides standard access and limits gaming sessions to one hour, but for $4.99 per month, gamers can get priority access, support for NVIDIA's RTX graphics rendering platform, and longer session lengths.

The $4.99 per month cost (or the free service) does NOT include access to games. You still need to purchase games from supported game stores like Steam to be able to play them using GeForce Now, though there are some free ad-supported titles.

Even though GeForce Now has been in beta for three years, the game library is still a little bit lackluster. There are many newer games that are not supported, but games like Fortnite, League of Legends, Witcher 3, and Destiny 2 are available.

NVIDIA recommends a stellar internet connection, but even with 400Mb/s download speeds, we ran into some troubles. On a 12-inch MacBook, which is certainly not powerful enough to play most games, titles would output at 30 frames per second maximum at a resolution of 1200 x 800, which was not a positive gameplay experience. The game was choppy, blurry, and frustrating to play.

Using GeForce Now on an iMac Pro with the same WiFi connection resulted in similar performance issues, but swapping over to an Ethernet cable for a hardwired connection solved all of our issues.

Playing Destiny 2 over GeForce Now with an ‌iMac‌ Pro on the wired connection resulted in no lag, a much higher resolution and frame rate, and no dropped frames. It was a smooth experience that was much like playing the game on a high-end gaming PC.

When trying a wired connection on the 12-inch MacBook, gameplay was also flawless, so NVIDIA is not kidding about the internet requirements. For the best possible experience, connecting over Ethernet is ideal.

GeForce Now is limited to North America and Europe at the current time, and the gaming library is limited, but as new titles are added, this may be a service worth checking out. It's free to try, so long as you own the game you want to play.

Have you tried GeForce Now? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Top Rated Comments

gimmesomemo Avatar
19 months ago
Ive been using GeForceNow throughout Beta on my shield tv (wired) and it has been really amazing. I never bothered with my MacBook, as the whole point was to be able to play on my 55' 4k tv on a sofa with a beer and a controller, from a measly android tv box!
Sure, there were some issues which came and went, some laggy weeks, sever bugs, etc, but overall it was really good.
The big, big problem now, is game developers pulling out of the service.
Seems like they're getting greedy and figured out that if they pull out of Geforce Now and go exclusively on Google Stadia they can get us (suckers) to buy their games twice.
There's no way to justify their behaviour other than greed, and if you look at the companies who are doing it, it makes sense.
It's a real, real shame. Stadia - a) sucks, b) you need to buy all games again, and c) well it's google so I don't trust them as far as I can hold them to account.
Geforce now is really head and shoulders above the rest in functionality and its getting beaten down by industry greed at the cost of us, the consumers.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisMoBro Avatar
19 months ago
How many people almost fell off their chair with shock/excitement when they saw the words "Nvidia" and "now" and momentarily thought Nvidia drivers had been released?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
warp9 Avatar
19 months ago
Without Blizzard, it's a non-starter for me.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Freida Avatar
19 months ago
if you can afford to pay monthly for 400mb/s internet + paying for geforceNow surely you can afford better computer. This service makes no sense to me.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SeanG1027 Avatar
19 months ago
12 inch MacBook Pro?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Winni Avatar
19 months ago

if you can afford to pay monthly for 400mb/s internet + paying for geforceNow surely you can afford better computer. This service makes no sense to me.
That's simply because you fail to see the bigger picture. It's the declared strategy of all big IT corporations to move --all-- computing to "the cloud", games are just one piece of the puzzle here (albeit a very demanding one).

Xbox is turning into a streaming platform for games, Microsoft already stated that they no longer care what hardware you want to use to play Xbox titled. You probably can even expect an Xbox streaming client for Sony's Playstation rather soon.

In December 2019, Microsoft launched a product called "Windows Virtual Desktop". It's exactly what it says on the (virtual) "box": A virtual Windows desktop, running in Azure. With the desktop versions of Office. And whatever other software you want to install on it. All you need is an HTML5 capable browser to use a Windows machine this way. And again, Microsoft doesn't care what hardware or operating system you use to access this virtual desktop.

"We’re building out Azure as the world’s computer.”
-- Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corporation, in his ”Vision Keynote” at the Microsoft Build 2019 Conference

This is where this all is headed. Right now, they're all building the back-end infrastructure so that it is ready when the telcos have finished upgrading their (mobile) networks to make the necessary bandwidth available. What will feel completely natural to use in five years from now, is being built today.

But all of us should ask ourselves the very important question whether we want this future.

Here is the must-read book on the topic, and it explains in non-technical language why that question is to important:

"The Age Of Surveillance Capitalism"
https://shoshanazuboff.com/book/
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
macos monterey tidbits feature copy

Apple Releases New macOS 12 Monterey Public Beta

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:19 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third public beta of the macOS 12 Monterey beta to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to test the new macOS Monterey software ahead of its public release. The third beta comes two weeks after Apple released the second macOS Monterey public beta. Public beta testers can download the macOS 12 Monterey update from the Software Update section of the System...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Apple Releases New Public Betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:16 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to download and test the new updates ahead of their fall release. The third public betas come two weeks after Apple released the second public betas. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS 15 updates over the air after...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...