For years, becoming a PC gamer was both expensive and challenging. Nvidia wants you to believe it still is.
At CES, the technology giant unveiled their plans to launch the GeForce Now service for PC and Mac. This service – which was previously available in an altered form for the Nvidia Shield – will allow you to stream high-profile games across Nvidia servers.
Why would you want to do that? Well, when you play games through these servers, it basically removes the need for a high-end gaming PC. Instead, the technological legwork is done by Nvidia’s cloud service. Essentially, then, you get to rent a high-end gaming PC from Nvidia.
The catch is the cost. At a minimum, GeForce Now is going to cost you $25 for 20 hours of gameplay. That doesn’t even include the cost fo the game. That fee might be slightly more practical in the case of an 8-10 hour game, but for potential 50+ hour experiences like Fallout 4 and Dark Souls III – two games shown during the presentation – it is downright insulting.
Some have already done the math and discovered that an entire year of GeForce Now will run you just shy of $1,000. That price is significant not only because it makes GeForce Now the most expensive entertainment streaming service by a considerable margin, but because it is also the price given to people who want to know how much it costs to make a respectable gaming PC.
In all fairness, the potential power of GeForce Now is greater than what you could get from a $1,000 PC when all costs are accounted for, but that’s not the point. The point is that Nvidia knows there is a sizeable market of people out there who love the idea of high-end PC gaming but are scared to invest in it.
They’re scared of building a computer. They’re scared of not knowing how to operate certain programs. Most of all, though, they’re scared at the thought of watching their $1,000 computer turn into a paperweight over just a handful of months.
These fears are not entirely unwarranted, but every single one of them can be resolved by something exponentially more practical than what Nvidia is trying to sell you. It’s a little strange that a company whose bread and butter is still PC hardware is trying to exploit the fear of that technology in order to rake in some cheap cash, but there can be no denying that they are trying to do just that.
As insulting as their pricing is, the worst part about this whole mess is that Nvidia actually may be closing in on a good idea here. There is an appeal to paying a reasonable fee in order to see how a PC game runs on optimal settings. It would not only allow the game to be properly tested, but it could raise the appeal of the hardware in question which, again, Nvidia sells.
Instead, they have decided to exploit people for maximum profitability in the hopes that any potential backlash will be manageable. In other words, it’s just another day in modern PC gaming.