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Nvidia GeForce Now will turn your PC into a ray tracing monster free for 3 months

Forget the $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti, Nvidia is offering free PC ray tracing for three months

Nvidia GeForce Now

If you’ve been on the waiting list for Nvidia’s GeForce Now game streaming platform, now’s your chance to get online up in the cloud. Nvidia is finally rolling its cloud gaming platform out of beta, and it’s adding a heap of RTX graphics cards to its servers and a new two-tiered subscription model to bring high-fidelity ray tracing to more devices than ever before.

From here on out there’ll be two options for budding cloud gamers: Free and Founders. You’ll be limited to just one-hour sessions with the free service, after which point you’ll be required to queue back up for a spot on the servers located in North America, Western Europe, and (via partners) Russia, Japan, and Korea. To avoid all that, there’s the Founders tier. Available for an introductory 12-month $4.99 price tag, with the first three months free, this will net you priority access to extended 4-hour sessions, queue jumping, and ray-traced games courtesy of Nvidia RTX graphics cards.

“Since we’re rolling out our RTX servers,” an Nvidia spokesperson tells PCGamesN, “we’re going to enable ray tracing from the cloud. It’ll be the first service to offer ray tracing in the cloud. Maybe not everybody has access to an RTX 2080 gaming PC, so they can get that kind of experience from GeForce Now from the cloud and get ray tracing.”

In late 2019, Blade Shadow announced it would be offering RTX-powered ray tracing in the cloud. Yet it would appear Nvidia may just beat them to it by a hair. When pressed, Nvidia told us that they see Blade as a partner more so than a competitor, and it wasn’t all that bothered by the close-run cloud RTX race. Shadow also offers up to 4K resolution, while Nvidia limits its GeForce Now service to 1080p at 60fps.

Free Founders
Price (/month for 12 months) Free US $4.99
UK £4.99
EUR €5.49
Access Standard Priority
Session length 1-hour max 4-hour max
RTX ray tracing Cross Tick
Resolution 1080p60 1080p60

All users currently in the waiting list for Nvidia’s GeForce Now service will also be granted access from today. Rather than limit the audience with beta access codes, Nvidia will rely on a queue system to moderate server demand during peak hours instead.

When pressed as to how its servers will deal with the potential influx of users, especially following that free three-month offer, Nvidia responded with “we produce a lot of GPUs, so we can scale it pretty quickly.” So that’s that, I suppose.

“In terms of our global capacity, we have 15 Nvidia-owned data centres, nine in North America and six in Western Europe, that deliver 20 millisecond latency to 90% of broadband homes in North America and Western Europe, which is very good performance.

“Then in [Russia, Japan, and Korea], we have our GeForce Now Alliance partners, and we’re putting the game servers on the edge of their networks. And because of that we can reduce the latency further and get within 10 milliseconds.”

Nvidia GeForce Now game support

No doubt Nvidia’s eyeing up the splash Google made last November with its streaming service, Google Stadia. The reception to that particular cloud gaming service has been mixed since launch, but it brought game streaming services to the forefront of gamers minds in way that GeForce Now and others had not yet managed themselves.

Where GeForce Now and Stadia differ is how these services approach game libraries – and, more importantly, how they interact with gamer’s existing collections. While Stadia offers a bespoke library of optimised titles that are purchased either directly or available through the Stadia Pro subscription, GeForce Now allows gamers direct access to their pre-existing PC game collections across stores and digital platforms.

GeForce Now offers a selection of games (somewhere in the hundreds) available to stream instantly from its servers. That covers a heap of the most popular games today, including Fortnite, PUBG, Rainbow Six Siege, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and The Witcher 3. There are also heaps of supported games available to download on demand (per instance) via superfast server download.

Currently available on Windows, Mac OS, Shield, and Android, Nvidia GeForce Now will also be available across Chromebooks sometime in Q1, 2020.