GeForce Now, Nvidia’s game streaming service, now works on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. In other words, you can now play PC games on your Xbox.
No, I’m not talking about those titles that end up gracing both the Xbox and the PC. As reported by The Verge, GeForce Now, er, now, supports the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S’s Edge web browser so you can play PC games through your Xbox, whether there’s an Xbox version available or not.
How does this space wizardry work? Your Xbox, running the Edge browser, streams the game running on one of Nvidia’s servers. Your controller inputs are sent back and forth between that server and your Xbox to the point where, if your connection is fast enough, it should look like you’re playing the game on your Xbox. However, results may vary, particularly with multiplayer titles; Tom Warren, who penned The Verge’s article, encountered serious lag playing Counterstrike.
There are also a few other provisos. Firstly, unlike PlayStation Now and its ilk, you don’t pay for access to a library of titles, you stream your own games library. So, unless you’re tackling a free-to-play title, you’ll need a Steam or Epic Games Store account.
Secondly, you can only play certain supported titles, though Nvidia regularly adds titles to its supported games list. My personal Steam account contains 342 titles; of those titles, 71 are playable through GeForce Now. Not, however, Death Stranding because, as Tom Warren discovered, while the Sony-published title is on the GeForce Now compatibility list, it can’t be played on Xbox.
It may be that publishers can dictate which platforms their games can be streamed on, or it could be that Sony were just a big enough company to bend Nvidia to their will. Either way, if you’ve got an Xbox, sorry, no Death Stranding for you.
were you looking forward to playing Sony PC games on Xbox through Nvidia GeForce Now? I noticed something strange. You can't play Death Stranding, a Sony published game, on Xbox through GeForce Now. It's blocked from showing up in search results 🤔 pic.twitter.com/G5qkFOPIwH
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) October 25, 2021
Also, though you’re providing your own games, the free version of GeForce Now only grants you an hour of uninterrupted play time. If you want to be able to play solidly for six or even eight hours you have to subscribe to one of the paid tiers, which start at £8.99 a month.
So how does GeForce Now actually perform on the Xbox? I tested out a few single-player titles on the Xbox Series X|S, on the free tier, using a 30Mbps connection. There were brief wait times, of ten to twenty seconds or so, but once they launched the games ran surprisingly smoothly; I spent at least half of my time playing Saints Row The Third and never had to deal with lag.
The graphics were, however, muddier than either the native PC or Xbox versions on their respective platforms, possibly due to our connection speed. And setting up GeForce Now, which was accomplished by going through the Edge browser, was very fiddly. I was able to play the games with a gamepad but we had to plug a mouse and keyboard in to log into our Steam accounts.
So should you dive into GeForce Now if you’ve got an Xbox? It’s definitely worth taking the free tier for a spin and seeing what kind of results you get, particularly if your Xbox is in a different room to your PC. Based on what I’ve seen, I won’t be signing up for the paid service just yet but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on GeForce to see if Nvidia can make its Xbox incarnation a little more user friendly.