Nvidia finally launched GeForce NOW out of beta this month and has already seen over one million gamers sign up either to the free account or the paid-for Founders subscription… which is still gratis for the next few months because of the free trial offered on release. That’s a hell of a lot of people, and likely a whole lot more than you’ll see streaming their little hearts out via Google Stadia.
The GeForce NOW vs Stadia comparative numbers don’t look great for Google, even if just take into account the Play store download figures. Recent reports have pegged the total number of downloads of the Stadia app at 409,000 on the Play Store, with another 141,000 on the App Store as of the middle of January. You’ll need one of them if you want to activate your Stadia account wherever you plan to stream your games, so the app downloads are a good way to get a rough outline of live accounts.
The Nvidia GeForce NOW app, by contrast, has been downloaded over 500,000 times. And going by the Google Play store metrics that ‘500K+’ figure means any number between 500,000 and 1,000,000.
That’s the power of giving something away for free. The gross disparity between the numbers gleaned from estimated data by Sensor Tower and the figures Nvidia has recently spoken about in a GeForce NOW blog post only exists because Google chose not to launch with the free Base subscription alongside the ill-supported Stadia Pro sub. If it hadn’t launched with effectively a paid beta to test the streaming waters it would have easily had a similar level of interest as Nvidia’s long-awaited service.
But interest in Google’s streaming platform has waned with shonky 4K support, limited Pro games, and no information about when the Stadia Base sub will finally see the light of day. In fact even prior to GeForce NOW’s launch the Nvidia app was downloaded around 10,000 more times than Stadia in January.
That’s not to say GFN hasn’t had its own teething issues. A misunderstanding about Activision/Blizzard games being included in both the beta phase and at launch was responsible for Nvidia pulling all of the publisher’s games from the platform.
Other publishers have also pulled streaming support from GeForce NOW, but Nvidia’s Phil Eisler has suggested that there may be some reversal on that in the near future with some of those games being brought back.
“As we approach a paid service,” writes Eisler, “some publishers may choose to remove games before the trial period ends. Ultimately, they maintain control over their content and decide whether the game you purchase includes streaming on GeForce NOW. Meanwhile, others will bring games back as they continue to realize GeForce NOW’s value (stay tuned for more on that).
“As the transition period comes to completion, game removals should be few and far between, with new games added to GeForce NOW each week.”
Whether that means Call of Duty is coming back to GeForce NOW or you’re going to get a better Red Dead Redemption 2 experience than on Stadia, only time will tell. I’m kinda hoping Nvidia at least manages to onboard all the DXR ray tracing-enabled games that have been launched since the RTX series launched. There haven’t been that many so I reckon it must be do-able…
It’d sure be great to have the super-shiny Control streaming in all its ray traced glory from my little Dell XPS.