I was one of the few people who mourned the shutdown of Stadia. There were dozens of us, I swear. That day was a huge loss for cloud gaming, regardless, there are still some viable alternatives in the market.

One of the most popular is Xbox Game Pass, and another one I’ve been trying out recently is GeForce NOW.

What is GeForce NOW?

For those who are unfamiliar, GeForce NOW is the cloud gaming service run by the folks at NVIDIA, and it differs from Xbox Game Pass and Stadia in some key ways.

For starters, GeForce NOW is essentially renting you a high-powered gaming computer to stream games you already own from third-party game stores, such as Steam, Epic, Ubisoft, EA Play, and more.

This approach provides a lot of benefits. Firstly, you don’t have to purchase or repurchase games from a new storefront that could go belly up at any point like Stadia.

If something were to ever happen and the GeForce NOW service shut down, you’d still own all of your games and could access them some other way. It’s nice to have that security when cloud gaming’s future is still uncertain.

Secondly, you have immediate access to a library of games you already own and can pick up right where you left off. It was amazing to me that I could boot up a game I hadn’t played in years and I didn’t have to start over.

Instead, I was able to jump back into my last quest with all of my items and XP intact. I loved that I didn’t have to start all over and work my way back to that point where I left off years ago.

What is the experience like?

I’ve spent the last few weeks getting familiar with GeForce NOW, using it on an NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro, Chromecast with Google TV, the Logitech G Cloud, my smartphone, and a Chromebook. It’s stunning to me that I can have access to games I own from various shops on so many devices.

I’ve had so much fun hopping from device to device being able to play through all the games I own no matter what room I’m in while keeping my progress synced with every device I’m playing on. It is such a fun experience to play games with this sort of freedom without being tied down to one device or location.

As someone who is primarily a console gamer, this was a new experience for me. Plus, it’s provided me with much of the frictionless cloud gaming experience that I enjoy. There’s no downloading and installing to do with the games. No managing your storage to ensure you have enough space. No waiting for updates to download when you’re short on time and want to jump right into a game.

All it takes is about 20-40 seconds for a rig to become available, and then you’re ready to load up the game and get started. The only hurdles to deal with are linking your various accounts from Steam, Epic, Ubisoft, EA Play, etc. That, and I noticed some dialogue boxes in Steam can be tiny and hard to read at times when playing on the TV.

Another reason I’m loving the service is that it allows me to play multiplayer games with all of my PC gaming friends. Using my PlayStation 5 as my primary gaming rig has isolated me from a lot of my friends who prefer playing on a PC. This is a great alternative for games that don’t offer cross-play, and GeForce NOW has support for many popular multiplayer titles, such as Destiny 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Apex Legends, and many more.

What’s not to love?

There were only a couple of downsides I found while using GeForce NOW, and these are common among all cloud gaming services. The first one is game selection. While GeForce NOW has a healthy library of over 1600 games currently, and is consistently adding more, it’s never going to have every game available from the various stores it supports.

For example, Hogwarts Legacy and Star Wars Jedi Survivor are a couple of the largest game launches of the year and neither are currently on the service. However, that doesn’t mean GeForce NOW doesn’t add new games. The recently launched Gollum game is available, although probably not the best example.

There are also some older games you might want to play, such as God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, the Batman Arkham games, or Red Dead Redemption 2 that are also not supported. Still, there are many popular games like Death Stranding, Control, and Witcher 3 on the service. Plus, GeForce NOW offers a way to request games to be added. Long story short, don’t expect the latest hit titles immediately or your favorite games to be available, and check beforehand if the games you want to play are supported.

The other drawback has to do with your connection and whether or not you have a data cap like I do. A data cap can really put a limit on your playing time. That’s not the fault of NVIDIA though but of my choice of ISP or lack thereof.

The final thing you should know is that some games are not available on every platform. Genshin Impact is one of those titles that is excluded from playing on Android TV boxes. I’m sure there are others, but this was the one that stuck out to me while every other game I tried was available on every device.

How is the performance?

GeForce NOW offers three different tiers and which one you choose will impact how well your games play in more ways than one. I was using the service’s highest tier known as Ultimate, and was blown away by the performance on all accounts.

The Ultimate tier provides you with a GeForce RTX 3080, or 4080 when available, for a beefy rig capable of ray tracing. On top of ray tracing, it also supports resolutions up to 4K and up to 120FPS. Furthermore, you get longer gaming sessions of eight hours in length and access to the fastest servers. As you can see, the Ultimate tier really lives up to its name.

During the past few weeks, I’ve had no trouble playing games with ray tracing on multiple devices. It’s been amazing to see that level of graphics quality with real-time reflections and running at up to 4K on various devices. Ray tracing makes a huge difference and it is difficult to go back once you’ve experienced it.

The only issue was a few rare stutters but it was a 99% smooth experience. Of course, your experience could differ depending on your location, ISP, and which tier you subscribe to.


As I mentioned, there are three different tiers to choose from, and amazingly, one of them is free. That’s right, the base tier is free but it limits you to one-hour sessions with a basic rig. Still, free is free, and it’s a great way to try the service out.

The next level is the Priority tier which will set you back $9.99/month and gives you access to a premium rig with ray tracing, priority server access, and six-hour sessions.

Last but not least, is the Ultimate tier which includes a GeForce RTX 3080–or 4080 rig when available–with support for ray tracing, resolutions up to 4K, and frame rates of up to 120FPS. You’ll also have access to the quickest servers and eight-hour sessions. All of that will set you back $20 a month though.

If you know you’re going to be subscribing for a while, then it’s possible to save some money by purchasing six months at a time. A Priority membership will run you $50 for a six month subscription which is $8.33/month while the Ultimate tier goes for $100 for six months which comes out to $16.67/month.

Final thoughts

Stadia may be dead but cloud gaming is here to stay. GeForce NOW gives you a way to dip your toes in and try it out with games you already own and access to games you won’t be able to play anywhere else.

I had a blast using it these past few weeks and will continue using it. In fact, it inspired me to pick up a couple of new games and I can’t wait to see them with ray tracing and settings at max without needing to spend a couple of thousand dollars on a new PC.

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