Nvidia’s GeForce Now subscription service allows you to play purchased PC games on low-end machines, with the majority of the work offloaded to cloud-based processors. It requires a fairly fast internet download speed to run effectively, but with the advances of 5G on the way, Nvidia is confident it can open up the door for even more players to get the performance of an expensive PC without the cost.
Nvidia demonstrated GeForce Now’s capability with 5G during AT&T’s Spark Conference in San Francisco. According to The Register, a fairly run-of-the-mill laptop was hooked up to a 5G base station and was able to achieve 60 frames-per-second framerate with only 16ms of lag. This could feasibly be reduced down to as little as 3ms in the future, which Nvidia said could allow users to play virtual reality games without needing expensive extra hardware.
It probably isn’t safe to play virtual reality games while you’re standing on the bus or in the park, but Nvidia’s vision seems to be in line with what we’ve heard from other companies recently. Microsoft is making a push for cloud gaming, as well, in order for players to experience its games regardless of device. Cross-play games like Fortnite have made this even more appealing, as they allow users from nearly any platform to compete against each other.
Mobile carriers aren’t yet ready to roll out 5G and it will be even longer before they’re able to do so on a large scale. AT&T, for instance, will initially introduce the technology to Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, and Verizon is planning to launch a wider version of the technology beginning in 2019.
GeForce Now is just one of several game streaming services that could benefit from 5G. PlayStation Now lets subscribers play full PS4 games without having to purchase them, and we’d love to be able to access these games on more devices. GameFly Streaming was previously another option, but was shuttered after its technology was sold to Electronic Arts this year.
According to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, all games could take the streaming-only approach in the future, as he speculated that the upcoming console generation would be the last. Only time will tell if this is true, but Microsoft’s is reportedly developing a second streaming box to sell alongside its next traditional Xbox console.