(Pocket-lint) - Nvidia has its own cloud gaming service in the form of GeForce Now, but it is different to most others.
For starters, there is a free-to-play plan and it gives you cloud access to your own games on Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG and Ubisoft's UPlay, all running on the latest PC gaming hardware.
So, how do you get GeForce Now and what devices does it work on? Read on.
What is Nvidia GeForce Now?
Nvidia GeForce Now is a cloud gaming service whereby you play games hosted on remote services and streamed over the internet to one of the supported devices - much like Google Stadia, xCloud from Xbox, Shadow or PlayStation Now.
All controller (or mouse) codes go the other way, while you receive up to 1080p 60fps video of your gameplay back.
It runs from more than 20 data centres sited around the world, with you accessing the one closest to you. And, depending on which membership plan you choose, games are run on the best Nvidia graphics cards around (RTX), so they will look their best no matter the spec of the hardware at your end.
Unlike most of its rivals, GeForce Now doesn't sell you games or give you access to its own curated library of titles. Instead, it links with your Steam, Epic Games Store, GOG or Uplay online accounts to play the games you already own or will buy through those digital storefronts.
Not all games are available - some publishers, such as Activision and Bethesda, block the use of most of their titles through GeForce Now - but there are still 1,000s that are.
Nvidia GeForce Now compatible devices
The Nvidia GeForce Now service is playable through the company's own Shield TV set-top-boxes. It can also be accessed through desktop apps for PC, Mac and Google Chromebooks.
Any Android device with 2GB of RAM and sporting Android 5.0 is compatible, but you will need a separate controller.
That also includes Android TV boxes that aren't the Shield TV, but as the app is only in beta form at present, Nvidia makes no guarantees on performance or that all functionality will be available.
Only the Korea-only LG U+ UHD Android TV box is officially compatible (save for Shield).
More recently, support has been added for iOS devices, through the Safari browser. Just load play.geforcenow.com in a new page.
How much does GeForce Now cost?
There are two membership options for Nvidia GeForce Now and the best news is that one of them is free.
Free membership allows you to play any of your compatible games for up to an hour at a time. You might also have to wait in a queue until a slot on one of Nvidia's machines becomes available as paid members get priority.
Paid members, called Priority, get extended session length, priority access (hence the name) and games are played using the highest level of graphics, with RTX cards and ray-tracing where applicable.
Priority membership costs £8.99 / $8.99 / €9.99 per month for 12 months. You can also pay annually to save some cash - it costs £89.99 / $89.99 / €99.99 for the whole year.
Founders members who signed up in the service's first year as a public offering will continue to pay at their old rate "for life".
What games are available on Nvidia GeForce Now?
As mentioned above, the big thing about the GeForce Now service is that your own games are available to you. So if you have a healthy library of games on Steam, GOG, Uplay or another online library, you can simply install a vast number of them on the remote machine and play them whenever you fancy. Some are even preloaded so you don't have to wait for them install before playing.
You can search the list of currently supported games here.
It is also one of the only cloud gaming services to support free-to-play games, such as Fortnite, the aforementions Hyper Scape, and Apex Legends.
Some games support Nvidia Highlights, which allows you to capture in-game footage and share it. This includes Fortnite, Kingdom Come: Deliverance and many other titles that you can see on this list here.
Where are my save files stored?
All of your save files are stored in the cloud so you can pick up where you left off whenever you like.
What is the minimum internet speed Nvidia GeForce Now works on?
Nvidia GeForce Now uses adaptive bitrates when streaming, so the image quality will adjust to your current internet speeds.
It requires a minimum broadband speed of 10Mbps, but 20Mbps is recommended if you want to stream in 720p 60fps.
You need a minimum of 50Mbps to enjoy a stable 1080p 60fps experience.
Nvidia also claims that ping time to one of its servers should not exceed 60ms.
Can I play multiplayer games?
As it effectively plays games from your own library, only installed on a remote machine, GeForce Now is compatible with multiplayer online games, including Fortnite.
What's more, you can play in multiplayer online worlds alongside players of the PC versions of games.
Where is Nvidia GeForce Now available?
GeForce Now is available in 30 countries around the world, including the US, UK and Central Europe.
You can find out more and sign up for Nvidia GeForce Now here.