Nvidia’s GeForce Now game streaming service just arrived on Chromebooks, meaning anyone with one of the budget-friendly, low-powered Google laptops can now play games from the cloud as if they were on a top-tier gaming rig.
The ChromeOS support is officially still in beta, but it’s accessible to any GeForce Now subscribers simply by heading to play.geforcenow.com from a Chromebook.
GeForce Now is slightly different to most other cloud gaming services, in that it allows you to stream compatible games that you already own through storefronts like Steam, the Epic Games Store, and Uplay.
At the time of writing there are over 650 ‘instant access’ games that you can play through the service with no install time, more than 70 of which are free-to-play. The downside is that for now streaming is capped at 1080p and 60fps, though Nvidia says that 4K support is on the way.
Nvidia recommends that Chromebook users invest in a USB mouse to use the service – acknowledging that it’s having some issues with Chromebook trackpads that go beyond the usual reasons not to use a trackpad for gaming. External keyboards and gamepads are also supported, with official Xbox, PS4, and Logitech kit all ready to use with ChromeOS.
GeForce Now is already available on PC, Mac, Android, and Nvidia Shield through the official app, and for now Nvidia says that the browser-based service is only compatible with Chromebooks – so Windows PC users will still have to stick to the official software.
However this could set the groundwork for a browser version of the service that might work on other devices using Chromium browsers. Most notably that could conceivably include iPads and iPhones through Chrome – which would be one way to get around the restrictive App Store terms that have seen Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming launch exclusively on Android, and prompted Epic Games to bait Apple into banning Fortnite (also available on GeForce Now, as it happens) and then launch a lawsuit.
In addition to Chromebook support, Nvidia announced that its in-game camera system Ansel would be coming to GeForce Now “in the weeks ahead.” Ansel, already available for desktop gamers, allows players to take high resolution, 360-degree screenshots within games including support for HDR and other fancy stuff like that.
GeForce Now is available, well, now, and costs £4.99/$4.99 per month. A £24.95/$24.95 bundle gives you a slightly reduced price for six months – along with some in-game freebies for new Ubisoft battle royale game Hyper Scape – and there’s also a free membership tier, but this limits you to an hour of gameplay at a time and includes no support for Nvidia’s RTX ray-tracing tech.
If this has got you tempted to invest in a Chromebook, check out our ranking of the best Chromebooks we’ve reviewed.