Hands-on: Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming finally brings great gaming to Mac [Video]

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Gaming on Macs has never been a primary use case, but for the few who do want to use their Macs for gaming — whether on the desktop or on a Macbook — there have never been great options. However, at CES 2017, NVIDIA has revealed that it’s game streaming service, GeForce Now, is headed to the platform.

GeForce Now, if you weren’t aware, is Nvidia’s streaming service for games. It debuted a couple of years ago with the company’s Android tablet, then expanded to its set-top box last year. Now, at CES 2017, Nvidia has expanded the service to computers, including most Macs.

GeForce Now connects users to individual GeForce GTX-powered virtual PCs which allow them to install games from popular services such as Steam, Origin, GOG, Uplay, and more. This also enables Mac users to access any game even if a Mac version is not yet available.

In Nvidia’s CES booth, we were able to test out GeForce Now on two devices, an iMac and a Macbook Air both not of the current generation (the exact model and specs were not disclosed). On the iMac, Nvidia had Witcher 3 running over an ethernet connection. The highly-detailed game played without a single issue during our brief testing.

More impressive, though, is the performance of GeForce Now on the Macbook Air. The older, less powerful machine had Rise of the Tomb Raider loaded up, and the game played without a single hiccup despite being on the highest settings. Needless to say, it was pretty impressive.

However, this service isn’t perfect. GeForce Now takes a while to fully load up, but Nvidia did mention that it is working to speed things up. Currently, loading up Rise of the Tomb Raider from the service via Steam takes about 1-3 minutes. Everything will, of course, depend on your internet connection and an ethernet connection is strongly recommended.

Pricing for GeForce Now is based on the hardware used and the amount of time spent gaming. For example, $25 will buy 10 hours of gameplay on a GTX 1080-powered machine, or 20 hours on a GTX 1060-powered machine. New users will also get 4 hours of 1080 or 8 hours of 1060 playtime. GeForce Now will be available both on Macs and on PCs starting in March with early access sign-ups available here.

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Video hands-on

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New GeForce NOW Service Instantly Connects Gamers to High-Performance Gaming Machines in the Cloud

LAS VEGAS, NV – CES — NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) today unveiled the new NVIDIA® GeForce NOW™ service, which delivers on demand a high-performance NVIDIA Pascal™ gaming PC from the cloud to millions of PC and Mac computers.

The new GeForce NOW service connects gamers to GeForce® GTX 1080 PCs in cloud data centers, renders games with the latest NVIDIA GameWorks™ visual technology and streams them in high definition to PCs and Macs.

“There are more than 200 million GeForce gamers around the world today, yet hundreds of millions of others have computers that aren’t well-suited for modern video games,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, founder and chief executive officer of NVIDIA, who announced the service during his keynote address at CES. “With GeForce NOW, a new generation of gamers can now play the latest PC games with great performance and amazing quality.”

In development at NVIDIA for five years, GeForce NOW is compatible with most Windows- and Mac-based desktop PCs and laptops. Gamers simply download the GeForce NOW app to their local machine. With a few clicks, they can connect to their own GeForce GTX virtual PC, install their favorite games from popular digital game stores — like Steam, Battle.net, Origin, Uplay and GOG — and start playing. Free-to-play games like World of Tanks can also be installed directly from their respective websites.

Home or Away. Desktop or Laptop. PC or Mac.
GeForce NOW provides a simple way for new players who may not have access to a high-performance GeForce GTX gaming rig to experience high-performance PC gaming. Gamers can use the service to easily transform aging Windows-based PCs or laptops with integrated graphics into state-of-the-art gaming machines. They can also play the hottest new PC game releases on their Macs without waiting for the Mac versions to become available.

Gamers can enjoy games they already own on the stores mentioned above, as well as purchase new games as soon as they’re available. GeForce NOW saves in the cloud game progress and achievements, and synchronizes them with locally installed games. This means gamers can use GeForce NOW on a secondary laptop and pick up right where they left off playing on their primary gaming PC. They can easily take all their games with them on the road, to their dorm room, a friend’s house or simply another room in the home.

GeForce NOW gives gamers the freedom to enjoy high-performance PC gaming anywhere. And the service makes gaming easier than it’s ever been by automatically installing patches and driver updates.

Pricing and Availability 
When gamers register for GeForce NOW, they can play for free for 8 hours on a GeForce GTX 1060 PC or 4 hours on a GeForce GTX 1080 PC. For an additional $25, gamers can play for 20 hours on a GTX 1060 PC or 10 hours on a GTX 1080 PC.

Early access to the new GeForce NOW service is scheduled for March in the continental United States, with full commercial service slated for the spring. Sign up for the early access waiting list.

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