GeForce Now, Nvidia's PC-based cloud gaming platform, is available in beta on Chromebooks beginning today. The service was already playable on PC, Mac, and Android — but Chrome OS, an environment known for both low-power hardware and a lack of high-end games, had previously been a particularly glaring omission. Now, practically any old Chrome laptop can fire up some of the most demanding games out there (provided it's got a strong internet connection).
Streams can be at up to 60 frames per second in 1080p. Games are running on high-powered Windows-based machines, which means that GeForce Now can stream many games purchased from popular storefronts like Steam and the Epic Games Store — something competing services like Google Stadia can't do. If you subscribe to the service's limited-time Founders tier, there's even support for ray tracing. That membership level is $5 per month for your first year (Nvidia hasn't announced what paid plan pricing will look like later).
Nvidia has some minimum recommended Chromebook specifications for a smooth experience, including an Intel Core m3, i3, i5, or i7 CPU and at least four gigs of RAM. But in my pre-release testing, GeForce Now worked more or less as well on a Celeron N4020-powered Lenovo Chromebook as it did my Pixelbook Go with a Core i5 processor. You'll need a sustained connection of at least 15 Mbps to play; Nvidia recommends 25. I was able to maintain a high-quality stream in every room of my apartment, although there were some dropped frames in the corner furthest from the router.
Although game performance is generally very good, the experience of getting into the games is still as clunky as ever. Your game session is coming from a high-end Windows PC, which means that to open, say, Fortnite, your host computer has to first open the Epic Games Launcher. The whole process takes longer than it ought to, and it feels like you're often seeing more of what's going on behind the scenes than you would on a console or even Stadia. You may even occasionally see a Windows dialog box, which can be a bit jarring on a non-Windows machine. Still, the service is young and the core experience is there.
If you've got a Chromebook, you can point it to play.geforcenow.com starting today to try GeForce Now out for yourself.
Steam purchase sync
Nvidia has finally also added Steam purchase sync for Chromebooks, so you can easily find which of the title you own on Steam are available on GeForce Now. Read our coverage here.