NVIDIA brings GeForce Now game streaming to Chromebooks

A huge expansion for the Google Stadia rival.

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NVIDIA is launching a beta version of its GeForce Now game streaming service on ChromeOS today. Unlike Windows and Mac users, you won't need a native app to get started. Instead, you can simply point your browser to play.geforce.now and login with a new or existing GeForce Now account. As before, you'll need to own some games to take advantage of the service. GeForce Now supports a range of titles from digital storefronts like Steam, Epic Games Store and Ubisoft’s Uplay. You essentially queue up for an NVIDIA-owned machine in a server farm somewhere, then access your game by remotely logging into the relevant storefront client.

The expansion to Chromebooks is a welcome one. GeForce Now doesn't make sense if you're sat at home with a powerful gaming rig in front of you. But if you're on the move -- a bustling coffee shop or cramped dorm room, for instance -- there's a good chance that a lower-specced clamshell is sitting on your lap instead. If you're carrying a cheap Chromebook, there's no way that you're playing high-end games like Control without some kind of streaming involved. Google Stadia, one of many GeForce Now rivals, already supports Chromebooks but its game library is fairly limited, both for Pro subscribers and people who would rather buy games à la carte.

Now, ChromeOS users have a second option. GeForce Now has its own catalog issues, though. When the service formally launched last February, many publishers were caught off guard and quickly asked NVIDIA to pull their catalogs. The company called it a "misunderstanding" and has subsequently changed its policy so that game makers have to opt into the service. NVIDIA says GeForce Now users can stream "one of more than 650 games instantly," including "over 70 of the most-play free-to-play games." Other titles will be added throughout the year, including Cyberpunk 2077.

ChromeOS might be the headline announcement, however NVIDIA has emphasized that it's working on updates for PC, Mac, Shield and Android users too. The PC and Mac clients will soon support Ansel, for instance, a screenshot tool that lets you snap digital photos from any angle, add filters and capture 360-degree photospheres that are viewable in virtual reality.

GeForce Now is free to use, though your sessions are limited to an hour and you often have to wait for a remote machine to become available. You can, however, pay $4.99 per month for a Founders membership that ups the session limit to six hours, gives you priority access, and turns on NVIDIA’s RTX ray-tracing acceleration. The company is also offering a six-month Founders pass for $24.95 that includes a battle pass token and in-game bundle (worth $69.94, apparently) for Ubisoft’s Hyper Scape battle royale.

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