GeForce Now Revisited

Screenshot of the GeForce Now app home screen

Last November during all the Black Friday madness I bought myself a new wide screen monitor. Nothing crazy fancy, it’s a 34″ curved Dell, 3440×1440. I didn’t go for 4K both due to cost and the fact that I didn’t think my PC could push 4K’s worth of pixels at a decent rate. I’ve got an RTX 2070 Super that feels like it is showing its age. I wasn’t even doing much PC gaming but I was having some issues with my setup of two 24″ 1920×1080 monitors. Anyway, point is, I bought a monitor that was much nicer than what I had. Higher resolution, HDR, curved screen.

It made PC gaming a lot more fun. One of the many reasons I enjoy console games is that playing in front of a 65″ 4K HDR TV with a good sound system is so immersive compared to sitting at a 24″ 1080P SDR screen with crappy speakers. A new monitor changed that (aside from the sound…still working on that). Problem now is that aging video card. I can still run older and indie games OK as long as I don’t push the settings too high, but I started thinking about either upgrading the GPU or just buying a nice new gaming PC. I really didn’t want to lay out all that cash though.

Then I noticed Scopique had started using GeForce Now again, and he seemed to be having good luck with it. I’d tried GeForce Now in the past and it had been OK, and I’m kind of fascinated by the idea of streaming games. I was a big fan of the Stadia technology, if not the business model, and playing games on Stadia had always felt good. On the other hand, playing on Microsoft’s XCloud always feels pretty bad. One thing I’ve learned is that your experience with streaming games is highly dependent on where you are and who your ISP is. I know folks who say XCloud works amazingly and I believe them. It just doesn’t work very well for me.

Anyway I decided to give GeForce Now another go. These days we have 1 GB Internet via Google Fiber with no data caps or anything. In practical terms a speedtest usually shows around 700 mbps up & down from my PC, so that includes any loss of speed due to internal networking and such. And my PC has a wired connection, so I was feeling pretty confident.

Screenshot from New World as played through GeForce Now.
My current system actually can play New World without too many issues but being able to jump in without the install and patch times made it kind of a treat!

I tried the free tier of GeForce Now and that was NOT impressive. First, the queue’s are crazy long. One night there were 210 people in front of me. I waited. After 20 minutes I was at 180 people; I figured at that rate I’d get a rig at about 1 am so I quit. Eventually I snuck in early on a weekend but even then there was a queue and when I did connect it was to a data center in Miami, and I’m in North Carolina. For folks not in the US, that means a data center about 800 miles or 1290 km away. I know that there are at least two data centers much closer to me, including one just over the state line in Virginia. I suspect that I got connected to the first usable slot and it happened to be in the Miami data center. With this set up the service worked but it wasn’t a great experience.

Undeterred and based on Scopique’s experience, I finally bit the bullet and bought a month of the Ultimate tier, which is required to go above 1080P anyway. And, aside from one glitch caused by some ‘optimization’ software running on my PC, so far the experience has been almost magical. At least for me and my puny PC. I’m playing on a 4080 rig with settings cranked way up and I’m getting 120+ fps on the server, though closer to 60 fps at my machine. But still I’ve never seen games look this good. Since becoming a paid member I’ve connected to that Virginia data center every time, and no more queues.

So now that I’ve drunk deep of the Kool-Aid I thought I’d talk about some pros and cons.


The Premium tier is $20/month which initially seemed really high to me. You can save a bit by going 6 months at time, which is $100 or $16.66/month (or $200/year). But remember, you’re playing on a 4080 which would cost you about $1000 right now. Spending $200/year instead might make sense depending on your needs. I kind of compare it to buying vs leasing a car. My brother has been leasing cars since forever and he just keeps rolling over to a new lease period and getting a new car every 3 years or so. This kind of feels like the same thing. It’ll take 5 years of GeForce Now to spend the same as you would on a 4080 today, but presumably Nvidia will keep bumping up the hardware so by then we’ll probably be playing on some even more powerful hardware. If you spend $1000 on a 4080 today, in 5 years it will no longer be state of the art.

On the other hand if you’re a “buy it once and run it into the ground” person then the monthly fee might sting a bit. My truck is a 2012, paid off long ago and no plans to trade it in. I’ll run it into the ground. So the monthly fee for GeForce Now is a little more concerning for me. My brother would love it, if he was a gamer. On the third hand, I pay $90/month for YouTube TV; the idea that I can cancel that for 2 months/year and cover GeForce Now is so compelling that I just canceled YouTube TV!


So far performance has been incredible. Games look amazing and the performance is so high it almost feels too high for me. I tried Doom Eternal and almost made myself sick, everything was so quick. I’ll have to get used to everything being this snappy. But what about the lag? I’m sure lag is there and if you’re a competitive gamer than a service like this isn’t for you. But as a 60-something dude with 60-something reflexes, I honestly can not detect any lag. I am NOT saying it isn’t there…just that my brain is too slow to notice it. Also bonus points for my PC staying completely quiet while I play. No more fans kicking into overdrive when I play a demanding game.


This is a mixed bag. The good news is, I don’t have to worry about driver updates or anything. I can play on any machine. I don’t have to worry about drive space. I am not a sequential gamer so I like to have a bunch of games installed and my hard drive is constantly full. No longer an issue. On the other hand, if the service goes down or something, I’m totally out of luck. I can’t install mods. And of course not every game is on the system. So if I’m interested in a new game I have to both find it in a game store like Steam and also make sure it is supported on GeForce Now. And I had to assume that games LEAVE the service too so you could wind up owning games that you can’t play without upgrading your PC.

I initially thought I’d also be playing GeForce Now on the TV in the living room via the Nvidia Shield streaming box but that doesn’t work as well as I would hope. The tech works but so many games pop open some kind of login field or anti-cheat dialog or something that it feels like more trouble than it is worth. If I were willing to connect a mouse and keyboard to the Shield I could solve this issue, but I’m not really interested in doing that due to the “Cluttering up the living room” factor.

Some games also come with their challenges. Forza Horizons 5 (on PC Game Pass) would not run in widescreen mode and it is new enough that I have to think it is capable of doing so. And Metro Exodus (Epic Game Store) would only run at a low resolution or at a higher res but tucked into a corner of the screen. I haven’t really spent time debugging either of these issues but I think it boils down to “When it works, it works great. When it doesn’t work… well you’re just out of luck.”


Overall I am absolutely delighted with how well the service works. I still don’t know if I’ll keep it past this initial month just due to the cost and the fact that I have the Xbox and the PS5, both with big backlogs, and do I really need a 3rd gaming platform that comes with a monthly fee? Probably I don’t. But damn, games look SO good on this widescreen monitor with a Nvidia 4080 pushing the pixels!! Decisions, decisions… 🙂