Nvidia wants to let people experience the joys of a high-end gaming PC without having to purchase one. At CES yesterday, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced that this will become possible, thanks to a new version of GeForce Now coming to PC and Mac.
While the upcoming product shares the same name as Nvidia's Shield-exclusive game streaming subscription service, it differs in several ways. This PC/Mac version works more like a cloud-based virtual desktop rental system. Huang described it as "basically a GeForce gaming PC on demand."
Once logged in, users will be able to load up standard versions of Steam, Origin, Uplay, GoG, or other online stores and purchase games or download titles from their existing library. The games will then run on Nvidia's GRID servers through GeForce Now.
Prices are tied to the virtual PCs' GPUs. $25 will get you 20 hours on a GTX 1060, while the same amount of money buys 10 hours on a GTX 1080 PC. You'll get between four and eight free hours to start off with, and Nvidia says installing games doesn't count toward play times.
Obviously, GeFoce Now isn't cheap. Someone using the service for just a couple of hours a day throughout an entire year would probably spend the same amount you'd pay for a gaming PC, especially if they picked the high-end GPU tier. But as the games played on GeForce Now work with online stores' save functionality, it could be useful when playing graphically demanding games on low-end laptops while away from home. Plus, purchased hours won't expire if you don't use them.
A LinkedIn job ad from last month hinted that an upcoming $10 per month Club GeForce Elite subscription program could include some free GeForce Now hours.
For the US, early access to GeFoce Now is set to begin in March. The full service should arrive soon after.