Video game streaming platforms exist in a constant state of battle, as the programs fight technological limitations while convinced this technology will eventually come out ahead. One of the most important names to enter this arena, Nvidia, has recently updated its GeForce Now service with an ‘Ultimate’ Tier. Looking to up the bar and fill the gap left by Stadia, GeForce Now Ultimate makes some interesting moves, but it still suffers from the issues which all game streaming services need to face.
What is Game Streaming?
Game streaming is essentially a method to deliver games that bypasses traditional strains placed on device hardware. This is possible by hosting a game offsite, and then streaming gameplay to a remote location. In effect, this is kind of like a more interactive YouTube or Netflix. By hosting and processing games in another place, all a system needs to do to play is to have a fast and consistent Internet connection.
The potential for this technology is a lot like that of traditional video streaming, where it lets players have access where it would normally be difficult or impossible. With game streaming, a user could access thousands of games instantly from anywhere, without concerns for physical media or hard drive space. It would also let players enjoy titles at maximum settings on humble devices, like playing Red Dead Redemption 2 at high quality on a mobile phone. This level of accessibility is also cheaper than many traditional options, with prices per month for an entire system lower than that of a single AAA PC game.
User interest in this level of flexibility has already been proven in video streaming, and in the interactive space, it’s online casinos that have been laying the framework. No deposit casino Canada players have long enjoyed similar benefits from websites like Winorama Casino and Scratch Mania Casino. Through no deposit bonuses, these casinos are free to try, with a lower price point than their traditional cousins. Also offering access anywhere via mobile, the advantages of this type of access are undeniable when compared to entirely static forms of play. In video games, this is what systems like GeForce Now want to emulate.
GeForce Now Ultimate
As for GeForce Now Ultimate, this new service tier acts as the latest iteration of a streaming system that was launched for the public in 2020. With GeForce Now already boasting a library of 1500+ games, this new offering looks to up the ante by offering host systems that include the new 4080 RTX series of GPUs. These are hugely powerful, offering performance that is among the best in the current market.
In real terms, this means that Ultimate tier users can expect improved support for 4K resolution, as well as new offerings in ultra-wide resolutions, HDR support, and crucially, 240 FPS output. While all of these offerings are welcome, they also operate with the same potential complications as previous streaming systems. In the perfect scenario, they’ll be great to look at and play, but real-life game streaming is far from perfect.
Cause for Pause
Thanks to the nature of data transmission, game streaming will never offer the same quality as playing titles locally. This is owed to two primary issues: compression and latency. Compression is where video signals are run through code to reduce data size, which is necessary thanks to how much data uncompressed signals use.
Even though modern Internet connections are fast, limits on bandwidth and data allowances will necessities compression in some areas for a long time to come. When undergoing compression, some quality is lost, even at the highest resolutions. That said, higher Internet speeds and higher data allowances will eventually mitigate this issue.
Less solvable are the problems related to latency, or the amount of time it takes data to perform a round trip. Since this is bound by the laws of physics, no amount of improvements will even overcome the feeling of sluggishness that latency creates. While it’s not an issue in some games, latency in fast-paced titles can reduce player performance. Even higher output in FPS won’t solve this problem of physical proximity, making it a permanent concern unless servers are close by.
GeForce Now Ultimate represents a new tier in game streaming, where the quality on offer is a step above anything that came before. For $20 a month, it’s a more expensive plan, but for the right customer with the right setup, it could be exactly what they need. If nothing else, Nvidia’s continued dedication to the concept of game streaming means that, unlike Google with Stadia, customers won’t be left abandoned.