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GeForce NOW for Mac - Beta Invite

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#1 Cougar

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 02:54 PM

[EDIT:  I have merged Cougar's thread with nv_kelly's thread by request.  It would make more sense though if the thread started with nv_kelly's post.  - tBC]


Anybody trying it? I know that nv_kelly has been giving some of us trial keys (thanks!) If you did not, I was given a referral code that can be used an unlimited number of times: TGFR-LDKQ-PJNG-URZN-SWXZ-NKHG

First impressions? It works well, at least for singleplayer games. The listed number of official games is pretty low at this point, but you *can* play unsupported games by selecting "Manage Steam" and installing then via the Steam Library (I played Age of Decadence on my MBP while traveling this weekend). At the moment it deletes your install and you lose your settings after every session, but apparently this is being worked on.

The last streaming gaming service I tried was Onlive, and this blows it out of the water. The fact that you can access your existing Steam and Blizzard games (and hopefully soon GOG?) without having to rebuy them and worry that the service might die is very nice.

The way it works now is you're given a launcher with the currently supported games. Install any of them, and you're taken to a Windows Steam (or Blizzard launcher) window. You can't access any underlying Windows desktop. If the service gets good enough, it would be great if one day they removed the launcher and just had a Windows desktop for you to do whatever with, but I can see why they went this route: there is a clear indication what is supported by the service.

If they stick to their currently announced pricing I don't think it really makes sense, especially if you don't mind building a PC. But in 10-15 years in a world where my MacBook has 5G LTE I could see myself paying $5-10 for a few weeks of service when I'm on vacation and don't have my PC.

#2 Matt Diamond

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 08:09 PM

I created an account but haven't had a chance to try it yet.

Among games I own already, Obduction would be a good candidate for the service since my Mac doesn't support Metal. The Witness would be another Metal example. (Neither is on the service yet though.)

Beyond that, obvious games would be anything that requires a really beefy computer or that is never coming to Mac. But I would have to buy those, I don't own any PC-only games yet, for obvious reasons.

Which is what makes the service kind of a niche thing, to my view. They're looking for people who own Macs and are willing to shell out both for the service and for the PC game licenses.

Working in their favor: crazy Steam sales pricing, and Apple's current lineup. But if Apple improves that and Metal bridges the performance gap, then the service starts to look a little less interesting.

There's another way of looking at it, which is the service extends the life of your current machine by letting you play demanding games. In that sense it could be considered a bargain. For the price of one video card upgrade you could get a year or two of the service. Not to mention games that would never run. The trick is to make users agree that it's a bargain. Not quite sure how to pull that off. (Maybe if they added a core collection of free games-- games that you'd get for free with your subscription.)

I am looking forward to trying it though.
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#3 nick68k

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 08:37 PM

nv_kelly was also kind enough to send me a referral code, but when I log in and go to the GeForce NOW beta signup page I'm put on the Early Access waitlist. Where in the blazes do you enter the code?
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#4 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:44 PM

This looks promising to me in the same way that PlayStation Now looked promising to me. However, what I found and what I think will be an issue for many people is the degree to which a quality network connection that minimally meets requirements is consistently available to them in home settings. That is of course, just one issue but it is a big one. I am not even talking about the fact that some people aren't able to get decent service at all in various areas but the fact that at least in the US, the quality of service is all over the place even where it is available. Then there is the huge issue of the internet itself, routing, etc.

My experience is only with PS Now which I wouldn't attempt to compare to anything else I haven't even tried but I do know that my own ISP sucks despite my paying 85 bucks a month for 200 Mbps down and the only reason I have even kept that so far has been for it being the lowest tier with unlimited data. I am reconsidering if that is really worthwhile when I am otherwise not getting near what I am paying for as a rule. At one point I had tried gigabit service and found it sucked. Theoretically it could do that speed down on a perfect day I guess but I never saw one most likely owing to external factors such as regulated bandwidth everywhere I visited or downloaded from. That's just my own single case but google searches on any ISP in the country quickly reveal the massive suckage of the Internet in America for many.

I got into the above because of the huge impact that has on any streaming service. I see it as the weakest link in the chain for the long term. After this stuff, then comes all the other issues inherent in trying to stream games with the kind of fidelity and performance PC gamers in particular will demand before shelling out for anything like this. After all, who is going to rent a virtual PC that sucks when you can own a better one that does not? The Mac community does not represent enough money for this so it needs to work for a far broader audience which I am sure is the long range goal. In fact, I am sure the long range goal is for you and I to eventually not own anything but rather rent everything, kind of like what Spotify and others have done with music. I wouldn't buy a new recording today. What for? It's on Spotify that I already have. I don't need to own it. I can't take it with me when I go. Spotify is cheaper than me buying music.

The other side of all this too is the gaming industry itself. I just read about WB putting a items shop with all kinds of microtransactions into the upcoming Shadow of War game which as you all know is primarily a single player experience. Those guys have some balls in my opinion adopting the free to play model in a way with a game they are charging 60 bucks for in bare bones form and $100 for the complete experience which seems to increasingly be the new normal. How the hell did we get here? These guys and all the major publishers are going to need to find a way to keep the gravy train going and all that needs to be worked out. This is why PS Now lacks, Bethesda, EA (doing their own thing), Square Enix (tried and failed doing their own thing), Ubisoft (trying and failing to do their own thing), etc. Those guys cannot even get past wanting their own client/store setup to keep the cash to themselves rather than let Gabe take any so a whole lot of dancing around board rooms will need to happen for a lot of years before you ever see anything approaching a Netflix for games. No way. When somebody figures out a cure for basic corporate, that is human, greed maybe. I don't think I'll still be here.

Anyway, as the slightly out of date article I link below points out, this service now in beta is years away from hitting its stride if it ever does. My own belief is that somewhere along the line, the bottleneck of our present internet system at least in this country has to be removed before it can succeed both in terms of cost and performance.

All that said, in those situations where someone has the golden connection and the service delivers the goods, this is cool stuff. I do worry a little about the long term implications until things settle out a lot of years from now to where a more expensive but worthwhile form of Spotify for games if you will becomes possible. I don't think we are even close yet. I do think the optimism of the nVidia CEO who believes they are still years out is more than a little optimistic. I'd be quite happy to find myself wrong about all this over the next couple years but I find it hard to imagine in this case.

This is the article with the CEO's comments written not too long ago but before this beta release: http://www.pcworld.c...s-to-scale.html
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#5 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 12:06 AM

After dropping the bomb about Shadow of War here which I hadn't noticed elsewhere on these forums yet, I created a separate thread on the subject to avoid derailing this one over it. It is located here: http://www.insidemac...showtopic=48467
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#6 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 12:35 AM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 08 August 2017 - 11:44 PM, said:

These guys and all the major publishers are going to need to find a way to keep the gravy train going and all that needs to be worked out. This is why PS Now lacks, Bethesda, EA (doing their own thing), Square Enix (tried and failed doing their own thing), Ubisoft (trying and failing to do their own thing), etc. Those guys cannot even get past wanting their own client/store setup to keep the cash to themselves rather than let Gabe take any so a whole lot of dancing around board rooms will need to happen for a lot of years before you ever see anything approaching a Netflix for games. No way. When somebody figures out a cure for basic corporate, that is human, greed maybe. I don't think I'll still be here.

Well, the Netflix model took a big stab from Disney. Fragmentation is coming to video streaming too.

#7 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 12:57 AM

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 09 August 2017 - 12:35 AM, said:

Well, the Netflix model took a big stab from Disney. Fragmentation is coming to video streaming too.

Well, in all these things I guess the market will self correct over time if consumers aren't willing. Speaking of which, I don't see a lot of consumers being willing to shell out for any games streaming yet. It just isn't good enough for enough people. It has to begin someplace though and this is it I guess. It's just strange to think about a time when the personal computer basically goes away and it becomes full blown client server model with dumb devices in every home. I sure hope security improves a great deal in the meantime to go along with this.
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#8 Matt Diamond

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 05:01 AM

View Postnick68k, on 08 August 2017 - 08:37 PM, said:

nv_kelly was also kind enough to send me a referral code, but when I log in and go to the GeForce NOW beta signup page I'm put on the Early Access waitlist. Where in the blazes do you enter the code?

The obvious thing would be to ask nv_kelly but for some reason that didn't occur to me. I never did figure it out. Workaround: go to the FAQ, scroll to the bottom, to the question about where to re-download the software. You can just download it, no code required.

I would still like to know where to put the code, just in case nv_kelly is being evaluated on number of successful referrals. Or in case the FAQ link goes away.
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#9 nick68k

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 06:23 AM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 09 August 2017 - 05:01 AM, said:

The obvious thing would be to ask nv_kelly but for some reason that didn't occur to me. I never did figure it out. Workaround: go to the FAQ, scroll to the bottom, to the question about where to re-download the software. You can just download it, no code required.

I would still like to know where to put the code, just in case nv_kelly is being evaluated on number of successful referrals. Or in case the FAQ link goes away.

Ok, I'm glad it just wasn't me being stupid! I sent nv_kelly a question about it.
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#10 Janichsan

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 07:01 AM

I also got offered beta access, but as GeForce Now is (currently) not available outside North America, I couldn't take it.

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#11 the Battle Cat

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 09:43 AM

And I don't have near the bandwidth for it.
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#12 macdude22

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 10:43 AM

View Postnick68k, on 08 August 2017 - 08:37 PM, said:

nv_kelly was also kind enough to send me a referral code, but when I log in and go to the GeForce NOW beta signup page I'm put on the Early Access waitlist. Where in the blazes do you enter the code?

rewardsportal.nvidia.com/login
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#13 nv_kelly

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 12:07 PM

Hi All,

I'm Kelly and I work at NVIDIA. We want to give you some information on our new platform that allows you to take your PC game library and bring it to Mac.

We've recently started rolling out invites to the GeForce NOW for Mac beta program. It's a solution for folks who have a Mac, but want to play games previously only available on PC. With the service, you connect to a high-performance GeForce GTX PC in the cloud to turn your Mac into a powerful gaming rig. We'd love it if you guys took the service for a ride – below is an exclusive code that will allow you to skip the wait list.

To participate in the beta, you need a compatible Mac computer with a 25 Mbps Internet connection, and to be located in the continental United States or Canada.
  • Create: an NVIDIA account at rewardsportal.nvidia.com/account/create (if you don’t already have one)

  • Visit: rewardsportal.nvidia.com/login

  • Redeem: KSZH-WBZB-BMNU-YFYI-GBOQ-VNKV

  • Download & Install: follow the directions to download and install the GeForce NOW Mac Beta app

  • Launch & Log-In: open the app and log-in to your NVIDIA account

  • Play: Select any game from the ALL GAMES tab that you own and you’ll be playing in moments
Visit our support page to see system requirements, FAQs, and feel free to provide feedback on your experience here or in our forums.

*Steam or Blizzard account and game ownership is needed to play games using GeForce NOW for Mac.

Let me know if you have any questions.
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#14 Frost

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 01:41 PM

View Postnick68k, on 09 August 2017 - 06:23 AM, said:

Ok, I'm glad it just wasn't me being stupid! I sent nv_kelly a question about it.

Use this direct link (and anyone else can use it too, for that matter): Activate GeForce NOW for Mac

You'll need to sign in or create an account (free) if you don't already have one. Already been trying it over here and sending Kelly feedback. The team plans to add 1440p in a future update and will also be deploying improvements they expect to improve latency in the next 3-4 weeks.
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#15 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 02:15 PM

I tried the beta playing Fallout 4 on my work's 500/500 dedicated fiber connection. The performance was garbage. Felt like I was playing an online game with 1000+ ping.

Maybe I will give it another try in a few months, but first impressions were not good.
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#16 devSin

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 02:17 PM

Yeah, I was just like "nah, I have Windows for that".

I mean, I guess it's great for people who don't have that option, but honestly, I think Nvidia should just concentrate on improving their drivers (none of the recent Metal games can even officially support NV GPUs) and then make Apple an offer it can't refuse to get their hardware back in the Mac.

I'm not convinced that this service would do anything other than further marginalize the already marginalized Mac games market. It's basically Transgaming 2.0, now with no effort whatsoever required on the part of the game's actual developers (or rather publishers).

I think the greatest chance for it to shine would be allowing Mac users to play legacy games that will realistically never come to any other platform (but I'm not sure how much support the service will offer for decades-old games).

#17 macdude22

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 02:20 PM

Initial thoughts after a week of testing.

The technology is impressive, like seriously impressive. This works better than in-home steam streaming has ever worked. Better than OnLive ever worked, granted we are years out from the fall of online. ISP networks have gotten better in the past decade.

I've been testing with multiple devices, on multiple internet connections. My primary test device at home has been a

2011 Mac Mini
Wired
200/20 Mediacom Cable
eero Home Network

I am in the middle of flyover nowhere with about the best connection you can get in this here midwest. On a good day with the digital wind at your back I can see 25-30ms latency to servers in Des Moines and 35ms to Chicago. The routing from my location does not go directly to Des Moines. Typically traffic is routed to Marshalltown, then Des Moines, then Chicago. At work we basically have fiber straight to Chicago so I can get sub 10ms latency.

The at home experience is better than expected, and worse than it could be. I'm never going to get much better than 35ms latency to servers in Chicago. The midwest server farm is located in the windy city, wherever they are located they must have more hops because the in app network test always shows between 42-50ms latency for me. It's very playable but you can notice the input lag, even playing paladins was fine (by my casual standards anyway). I have been playing a lot of No Mans Sky which is completely playable at home with with that latency.

At work I've been testing with a TouchBar MBP and a 2013 Air. Our wireless is super saturated all the time, basically unplayable. On wired with the sub 10ms latency I get to Chicago I cannot detect the input lag. I'm sure it's there but I'm a casual pleb. 100% playable in that regard. Given my experience at home I think 50ms is probably the upper range of what most would tolerate. I think I would probably tolerate 60 in a Single Player game. At work, on wired. Impeccable.

From a network standpoint as long as you can sustain 30+mbps and sub 50ms latency it works great. That said in ye old midwest we frequently have speed dips and I have noticed this when playing. It only happens for a few seconds but it's semi frequent, I assume local node congestion or routing quirks etc... it is what it is. Rarely an issue but noticeable when it crops up (you'll see this sometimes in netflix it will buffer down to the lowest quality for 10-15 seconds).

The client is currently stuck at 1280x720 (720p). It doesn't matter what I run it on, it sets to 720p. My 1920x1080 mini. 720p. My 1650x1050 MBP. 720p. My 1440x900 air. 720p. If you're trying to sell me on how high fidelity this PC is in the cloud, that's a big fail right now. It sounds like there is work being done for better support of common macOS resolutions.

I think if people ignore their preconceptions of what cloud gaming is/was they'll find the performance pretty good.

4 out of 5 cat treats for technical prowess.

I'm a little more sour on the holistic picture of the service in general. Granted it's only in beta right now with a limited subset of supported games so this is all subject to change.

Currently there is a limited set of supported games. You can install unsupported games but you have to do it every time, and you'll lose all your settings, saves, etc.... Within the current set of games there is a wide breadth of genres BUT many of these games are already available on macOS and run great on any modern hardware (i'm talking Iris IGP). WoW, Paladins, Left 4 Dead 2, Borderlands 2, Cities Skylines etc.... older hardware maybe 2013 and older they won't run great so there's some tangible benefit there. Stardew Valley is one of the flagship beta games? This runs impeccably on my wifes 2010 MBP, great game but I would not be using this as a showcase for your new premium streaming games service.

The really interesting stuff right now is The Witcher 3, NMS, Skyrim, etc... When they add new games they need to focus on stuff that's not available at all on macOS. Bring some of those sweet rpgs like the Tales series to the plate. Or FPS games like Doom or Wolfenstein. Want to win me over as a real mac head? Hit me with that stuff. Also I have more games in GoG than steam, I'd like to see GoG support as soon as possible. I'm assuming when the service goes live you'll basically be able to play any games you have in steam/gog/etc but right now the selection is limited, and some of the choices seem odd to me.

Pricing. I've already got to buy the game + an additional fee + damn good internet to use the Now service. Since an xbox one isn't that big of a hit to the wallet that's your competition right there. It doesn't matter if Now is "better" I'm lazy, I'm a pleb, I just want to play a game easy peasy. It's got to be pretty cheap to rope me into using the service + having to buy a game that (assuming I'm mac only) I will only be able to use if i'm paying for this service. Nothing concrete has been announced but the latest info I see is some nonsense about tokens. That's a nonstarter. Microsoft, Nintendo, etc... they all tried this fako store currency and everyone hated it. I don't want to pay 800 points for this and 2000 tokens for that. I want to know what it costs in dollars period. I can't see my self paying much more than 4.99 a month for this. Too much more than that and over the course of a year or two you're better off buying an xbox. You could probably sell me on upwards of 6.99 a month if I can play ANY game I have in gog/steam/battle.net

Search. If they get any more games in the client, by gum they need a search tool.

Overall, I give the beta 3.5 cat treats right now. Fix the resolution issue and I'd bump that to a 4. It works pretty good, even for me in bumf Iowa. Will keep playing around with it and posting my thoughts.
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#18 macdude22

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 02:25 PM

Mind you if you are willing to spend the time, money, and effort to spin up a windows box this is a non starter. I'm done with that. I don't have any time to frak around with windows anymore. I barely get 4 winks a night as it is. Win10 deleting steam and ALL installed games was the last straw there. I'm back to mac+console like the cat in the sky intended.
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#19 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 02:35 PM

Have people looked at the pricing for GeForce Now ? It is absolutely insane:
  • $25/month for 20 hours of gameplay on a GTX 1060 system; OR 10 hours of gameplay on a GTX 1080 system
Paying $1.25 PER HOUR of gameplay is just absolutely ridiculous pricing ($2.50 per hour if you want the 1080 system). I get that the infrastructure is expensive, but I seriously cannot think of anybody who would bother with this kind of pricing.

If you own a sheild console the pricing is a much more reasonable $8/month for I assume unlimited hours, but I'm not going to go out and spend a few hundred on a sheild just for this. This cost of the shield would pay for half of a decent entry level gaming PC.
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#20 macdude22

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 02:58 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 09 August 2017 - 02:15 PM, said:

I tried the beta playing Fallout 4 on my work's 500/500 dedicated fiber connection. The performance was garbage. Felt like I was playing an online game with 1000+ ping.

That's just how fallout 4 plays. The Bethesda swimming engine.
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