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Nvidia's GeForce Now Windows App Transforms Your Cheap Laptop Into a Gaming PC (theverge.com) 100

The GeForce Now game streaming service that Nvidia announced for the Mac last year is finally coming to Windows PCs. According to their website, the service lets you stream high-resolution games from your PC to your Mac or Windows PC that may or may not have the power to run the games natively. Starting this week, beta users of the GeForce Now Mac client will be able to install and run the Windows app. Tom Warren reports via The Verge: I got a chance to play with an early beta of the GeForce Now service on a $400 Windows PC at CES today. My biggest concerns about game streaming services are latency and internet connections, but Nvidia had the service setup using a 50mbps connection on the Wynn hotel's Wi-Fi. I didn't notice a single issue, and it honestly felt like I was playing Player Unknown's Battlegrounds directly on the cheap laptop in front of me. If I actually tried to play the game locally, it would be impossible as the game was barely rendering at all or at 2fps. Nvidia is streaming these games from seven datacenters across the US, and some located in Europe. I was playing in a Las Vegas casino from a server located in Los Angeles, and Nvidia tells me it's aiming to keep latency under 30ms for most customers. There's obviously going to be some big exceptions here, especially if you don't live near a datacenter or your internet connectivity isn't reliable. The game streaming works by dedicating a GPU to each customer, so performance and frame rates should be pretty solid. Nvidia is also importing Steam game collections into the GeForce Now service for Windows, making it even more intriguing for PC gamers who are interested in playing their collection on the go on a laptop that wouldn't normally handle such games.

Nvidia's GeForce Now Windows App Transforms Your Cheap Laptop Into a Gaming PC

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  • Explains why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by captbollocks ( 779475 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @05:11AM (#55892009)
    Nvidia is banning GPUs in the cloud unless you have a special license, which I bet stops you from offering a service like this. https://www.theregister.co.uk/... [theregister.co.uk]
    • 1. Find a country where such a license limitation is not legal.
      2. Move your datacenter there.
      3. Profit.

      • by Boutzev ( 325568 )

        They can always deny you from buying new GPUs at a discount price. You can still buy all those GPUs at market price though.

        They can also deny you support and hardware replacements if you don't respect the agreement.

        • #1 is easily fixed by hitting the local Gamestop with a fake moustache. #2 is going to be illegal wherever that clause is illegal.
      • 4. Massive latency
        5. ???
        6. Bankruptcy.

      • You can't. By the very nature of this service, latency matters.

        Whatever country doesn't respect said license will suffer high-latency sending data back to North America.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @05:52AM (#55892105) Journal

    I'm still not seeing anything about this that addresses the biggest problem that's hit previous gaming services such as OnLive and the like. That is to say; input latency.

    30ms latency is indeed a generally acceptable figure for normal online gaming. But don't forget that what you're talking about under normal circumstances is the latency between the server and the client. So that latency is only relevant to the server-side game interactions. What we're talking about here is having an additional 30ms latency before you even get to that point. What that translates into is a far more distracting gap between the player's control inputs and a visible reaction on-screen (added on-top of the standard display-related latency, which even on a really good gaming monitor is likely to be at least 10ms).

    This is really, really distracting, particularly in games which use mouse controls, where it is highly noticeable that there is a delay between mouse movements and in-game response. 30ms is roughly equivalent to what you'd get from a particularly horrid vsync implementation (e.g. what you see in the PC versions of Skyrim and Fallout 4), which can be distracting in regular gameplay and a real killer in any kind of competitive online action game.

    • It's not at all clear what that 30ms latency refers to. Is it 30ms latency on top of network latency, like you suggest? Or do they mean they want to locate their data centers in such a way as to offer 30ms network latency to customers, with the streaming tech adding only a small amount on top of that?

      Around 8 years ago I got to test similar graphics streaming technology (from HP I believe). We wanted to be able to stream business-related 3D simulations and games to the typical shitty business laptops
      • If they can keep latency at around 30ms, performance will probably be good enough for most gamers.

        They can't. You failed to read and/or understand the parent post. The 30ms is additional lag, and it's a ridiculously low estimate as well. If you only have 30ms of internet lag, you are my own personal hero sir. In the best case, they are approximately doubling your input lag, which is unacceptable for anything but a strategy game.

        • Well, With the recent rolling out of Gigabit internet in places around the country, this might be what we need to kick it into everywhere.. my brother has gigabit internet at his house, fiber into the garage.. he wont let me run fiber to the switch i gave him yet, guess i get to wait for the next round of drywall cutting.. Back to the point, When i play games at his house, even on eastcoast servers i get about a 10ms ping at most, so IF the customers have good internet, fiber obviously being the best scenar

          • Well, With the recent rolling out of Gigabit internet in places around the country, this might be what we need to kick it into everywhere

            Trump's Swamp Things are doing all they can to keep us from having faster internet. So no. It won't be. Enjoy paying more for less.

            • Oh right, I forgot you cant look past the line your side is on without snark. Should have done like I was going to and not replied to you. Showing your true colors. Seems like a lot of you here must be related. Have a good life.

              • Oh right, I forgot you cant look past the line your side is on without snark.

                I'm entirely serious. Part of the Republican agenda is control of media. Like Trump, all Republicans depend on low-information voters for much of their support. Also like Trump, the bulk of the remainder is made up of people with money who feel that the Republicans will help them keep it. Most of the ne'er-do-wells in the KKK and the like don't bother to vote, like everyone else. That's why they had to have a voting drive for Trump [huffingtonpost.com]; it wasn't a given. Republicans consistently break more promises than Democr

                • Democrats depend on getting the word out, Republicans depend on shutting the word down.

                  Think you may have drank a little too much, you're mixing your words up..

        • The (grand)parent post claims the 30ms lag is additional lag, but that wasn't clear from the original statement in the summary. The quote in the summary implies that the 30ms refers to either total latency or network latency, since the quote mentions the exceptions being people living fram from the data center. In our own testing, the streaming pipeline didn't add anywhere near 30ms latency.

          As for network lag, my latency in BF4 is generally between 15-30ms.
    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      To be honest... their latency is going to be the least of your worries.

      People are going to expect to play this on a device that isn't pushing input to the game directly, over their home wifi (still on 2.4GHz with loads of neighbours around), shared with the whole household, across their standard broadband, through the ISP and to the game servers.

      From there, sure, the inter-gamer latency will basically be 0ms. But the latency from all that path will be horrible, variable, out of control of anybody by the us

    • 30ms is roughly equivalent to what you'd get from a particularly horrid vsync implementation (e.g. what you see in the PC versions of Skyrim and Fallout 4)

      I've played both Skyrim and Fallout 4 on my PC and never noticed any kind of input lag. If that's what 30 ms input latency feels like (and nVidia can actually deliver it), I'd call it a success.

      • by fazig ( 2909523 )
        I tried to stream Fallout 4, Skyrim and Prey (2017) through Steam to my notebook. I did it over Wifi within the same room and made sure that no other one was using the network. I can tell you that you probably would not like the additional latency that's added on top of all other latencies through streaming.

        I'm not too optimistic with this technology. But of course it's the wet dream of copy right fanatics - the perfect form of DRM for software - so they're going to continue to push it.
        • by tohoward ( 78757 )

          Oddly enough I am currently streaming Fallout 4 from my desktop PC in the basement (on a wired Gigabit connection on my LAN) through a dedicated dual-band (2.5/5.0) wifi access point. I would quantify the result as "very playable" right up until someone hits the wifi node with a massive load (i.e. someone starts a streaming service, big download, etc.), at which point there is a noticeable lag that quickly recovers.

          For "twitch" gaming with an FPS, that just wouldn't cut it. For playing Fallout 4, it seem

        • by chihowa ( 366380 )

          I regularly stream games using Steam (including twitch FPS) and I rarely have any issues. I've even used it over a VPN from shitty hotel wifi and the latency isn't that bad. My Windows box is headless and only exists to host games.

          Since you mentioned it, I played the entirety of Prey over a VPN from another continent. The ~160 ms latency may have slightly biased my play style, but it made playing it on my laptop possible.

          • by fazig ( 2909523 )
            It probably depends on the person to what degree the additional delays are noticeable. I suppose you can get used to it, like we were used to play things like Counter Strike with 200ms+ pings over dial up, but if you see the differences more directly the reduced responsiveness does lessen the enjoyment of fast paced games in my eyes.
    • It's not as good as having the hardware, no. But it's better than suffering through abysmal performance at bottomed-out settings on something that was never meant for gaming.

      Lag from streaming gameplay is much better than the midpoint of "can't run it at all on my hardware" and "running it maxed out at 144fps", by virtue of being playable and running at higher settings, so they can sell it to those who already have capable rigs as "Cheaper than the equivalent gaming laptop! (for the first however-many month

      • It's not as good as having the hardware, no. But it's better than suffering through abysmal performance at bottomed-out settings on something that was never meant for gaming.

        Lag from streaming gameplay is much better than the midpoint of "can't run it at all on my hardware" and "running it maxed out at 144fps", by virtue of being playable and running at higher settings, so they can sell it to those who already have capable rigs as "Cheaper than the equivalent gaming laptop! (for the first however-many months)", and they can potentially ALSO sell it to the netbook/prebuilt-home-office-computer crowd as "Cheaper than buying a prebuilt and easier than building your own!"

        They can compare the cost of 13 months ("Over a YEAR!") of service with the cost of a PC build (and they're free to make that build as exorbitant as they want). You could argue that, by comparing the service favorably to buying your own PC, they might be competing with their own hardware sales. However, I'd imagine the profit margin will be better for them on this service than it is on prebuilts with Nvidia cards, and I find it likely that anyone who's in the market for buying a GPU on its own either 1.) isn't going to care about this service at all, because they're happy with their rig, or 2.) will react favourably to the "cheaper than a gaming laptop" bullet point. If Nvidia see that potential competition as an issue, they may still be able to compare favourably to the cost of a "pro" console and a year of XBL/PSN.

        All they have to do is shoot for a "budget option" angle, and people will find ways to justify latency/occasional downtime because it's cheaper for them (for now).

        That said, after seeing how they handled the Shield line, I'll be surprised to see ANY adverts for this.

        My last gaming PC cost about $600 about 6 years ago; I still don't feel the absolute need to upgrade it, although it certainly is beginning to be a little stretched for some games. I see more than capable gaming laptops on sale for $800 frequently. I'd still need a cheapo computer to run their service.

        So in order for it to be cost effective it would have to be under $80 a year... and even then that would be less than optimal because you don't own the hardware, can't use it if internet gets spotty... etc.

        • I'm not expecting it to actually be cost-effective for consumers, I'm saying that their best advertising angle is CLAIMING that it is.

          In order for it to look good next to buying a $1k+ Alienware monstrosity, it just needs to cost less than $500 per year, and they can say "Over 2 years of our service is cheaper than this PC! Plus, you'll never have to mess with hardware!"

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      A few years back, John Carmack tweeted [twitter.com] that he could ping transatlantic faster than putting a pixel on screen. He then explained more fully at superuser [superuser.com].

      Since I run smokeping from my home server, I can definitely say that most online services are reachable from my home internet connection in ~20 ms round-trip - or 10 ms one-way.

      For contrast, one frame at 30 FPS is 33 ms. (Kind of slow by modern standards, but I'm old enough for 30 FPS to be the threshold of being acceptable).

      While it certainly matters to t

  • For me this means I will only need one or 2 high specced PCs (one for me and one for my son), then we can play from wherever we are. Now all I need is a good reliable and safe way to remotely switch on and off my pc. This must have been solved surely, any ideas?

  • If this is anything like Steam's In-Home Streaming, I hope they actually allow me to source source/destination IPs into the clients. I've got a powerful machine in a remote location that I can only get to via a dial-up SSH VPN session. Because of the difference in subnet, Steam In-Home Streaming wont auto discover the machine at the other end.

    I'm all for making this "auto-magic" for the end-user, but having advanced options would be extremely helpful for when the magic doesn't work.

  • Of course! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2018 @10:26AM (#55893355)

    This is just another chapter in the lately-skanky 'evolution' of computing. You know, the one that says you no longer control, (or really, even own), the device you paid for. It's all moving to 'the Cloud'; this means both that privacy is defunct, and that the proper functioning of the hardware you buy is subject to the whims of whoever is providing your 'Software As A Service'. And since so much gaming is already MMO, most gamers won't give it a second's thought beyond "Oooh! Shiny! Now I can play on cheap, small hardware!". Yet another erosion of self-determination and autonomy - hooray!

    • by e r ( 2847683 )
      You, of course, wrote that post on a computer running Linux?
      Because if you're using MacOS or Windows then that would sort of undermine your point, wouldn't it?
  • Didn't OnLive and Sony both try streamed games, to no real success? What happened?

    It seemed like people who wanted to game casually did so on their phones, and people who wanted the hardcore games got special consoles or computers for it. The streamed game market was an interesting novelty, but there didn't really seem to be a demand for it... especially in the age of data caps and throttling.

    • Didn't OnLive and Sony both try streamed games, to no real success? What happened?

      I think someone else on the thread called it - this is different because neither OnLive nor Sony could overcome the cost/hardware investment. Both companies tried to sell gaming, and only gaming. It's possible to do this with AWS because other components more readily subdivide. As a simple example, an 8TB drive can be sold to 8 people in 1TB slices, all of whom can use it at the same time and be generally-okay with performance. GPUs don't subdivide nearly as well, meaning there basically needs to be a 1:1 r

  • You can do the same with Steam (any game, not just games bought on Steam). Unlike this Nvidia thing, it works on Linux too. I have a win7 box burried in a closet somewhere for that purpose.
  • Playstation Now already does this, and it works pretty darn good... But I'm not interested in paying a subscription to play games I already own(ed) for PS3 just because they never solved backwards compatibility... If Geforce Now lets me tie in the games I own from other platforms and just pay for their power/bandwidth, at a reasonable rate, I'm in for times I don't have my massive slab of a gaming laptop handy... Bonus points if I end up being able to do so from my iPad down the line.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Seems like eGPUs [egpu.io] really scare a lot of vendors.

    "From reading things such as this, I conclude that the tech/drivers to get full speed Thunderbolt eGPUs are largely ready, but Intel and/or other vendors are refusing to licence it and make it available. The one company that defied them and sold it anyway appears to have been shut down by Intel and product recall notices issues to everyone that purchased it. Read the thread, check the sources and make your own conclusions."

    That's Intel, but same difference.

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