We’ve done some previous posts on the Nvidia Shield and why it’s such a fantastic Kodi device, especially for those looking for a little more from their set top box than movies and TV. One of the unique features highlighted was what used to be called Nvidia Grid. It’s been in beta for several months and it’s essentially trying to be the Netflix of games: Games on demand that are streamed directly to your Shield with no installation. The service has been free during the beta period and Nvidia has been mum on pricing.
Today Nvidia took the service out of beta with a new name: GeForce Now. The service goes for $8 USD a month and will go live Thursday in North America, Europe, Western Russia, as well as Japan and South Korea. The main driver towards these launch regions is the prevalence of high end data centers. The service allows Nvidia Shield owners to stream games in 1080p to their Shield devices without downloading or installing the games via an all-you-can-play service. For those not interested in a a monthly subscription service titles will also be available a la carte. Purchasing a game through the service would grant a user a digital key so that could download the game on PC as well as play it through the Geforce Now service.
Memories of Netflix of Yore
Looking over the current title selection brings back memories of when Netflix first launched it’s streaming service years ago and it had a dearth of new released and focused on second run and niche films. Although a few relatively new AAA games such as the Witcher 3 are launching with Nvidia’s service, the majority of the current library of about 50ish games on the service are in the 6+ month old range, This doesn’t detract form the quality of games (There’s some great ones on there) however it looks like, at least currently, the library will lag offerings available elsewhere. If you only want the latest and greatest you may find the selection lacking, if however you want to play some great games on your Shield the service could have value for you. There is one additional caveat however…
Prepare your Router!
Streaming games is a totally different ball of wax than streaming Movies in TV. Latency is more noticeable, less forgiving and 100X more frustrating, especially iof the game is multiplayer. The absolute bare minimum connection is suggested to be 10Mbps, but to get the most of the service you’ll need approximately a 50Mbps (!) connection. Those with data caps set by their providers beware!
Nvidia is also indicating that you’ll need a 5 Ghz 802.11AC/N router. While you could probably get away with any 5 Ghz 802.11AC/N router, Nvidia has a list of routers it considers Nvidia Shield-Ready Routers. If you’re interested in the service and 100% want to make sure the service works smoothly you may want consider one of these listed routers below for your next router upgrade.
All in one living room appliance
The Shield family was already a fantastic Kodi device and one of the best on the market(some say the best) even for those without any interest beyond Kodi typical fare. However services like GeForce Now and Gamestream adds enormous of value to an already fantastic appliance and further differentiates it from your standard Android boxes like the ubiquitous M8 family. Nvidia isn’t the first one to attempt this kind of technology, but it looks like they’ve learned from failures like Onlive. More and more competitors will look at what Nvidia has been doing and will doubtlessly improve upon the concept further, along with in home options like Steam’s In-Home Streaming. The possibility of adding these kinds of servcie and functionality to your every day, lost cost Kodi box increase day by day. The living room is about to become an even more interesting place.