Cloud gaming has yet to see a killer app, but it seems that Starfield might be the next best thing. The highly anticipated game has now been made available on Nvidia's GeForce Now, which is being hailed as the first cloud gaming service capable of doing justice to the game. The best part is that GeForce Now offers a completely free trial with no credit card required, making it accessible to a wide range of players.
Starfield is particularly significant for cloud gaming due to its demanding hardware requirements on PCs. It puts a strain on both CPUs and GPUs and requires an SSD to play. Also, at its launch, it did not feature Nvidia's frame rate-enhancing DLSS technology. These factors make it the type of game that drives players to upgrade their PC or consider playing it on the cloud, where they can stream it to various devices such as TVs, PCs, and phones.
This demand for cloud gaming with Starfield is evident in the long wait times experienced by players on Microsoft's xCloud service. However, there have also been reports of slightly muddy graphics and considerable lag. On the other hand, Nvidia's pricey GeForce Now RTX 4080 subscription cloud servers are known for their ability to handle these issues effectively.
While Nvidia's free tier offers a limited cloud gaming experience, their top-tier “Ultimate” subscription service provides a taste of what cloud gaming is truly capable of. However, this subscription comes with a price tag of $20 per month or $100 for six months, in addition to the cost of the game itself. Unlike GeForce Now, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate allows players to access select games they already own from PC game libraries like Steam.
Furthermore, Starfield is serving as the first major test for Nvidia's 10-year deal with Microsoft, which enables the streaming of Xbox games through GeForce Now. As Microsoft owns Bethesda, the developer of Starfield, Nvidia has promised to release new titles day-and-date or as close to it as possible with the PC release. This partnership will be essential in determining if Starfield runs smoothly on GeForce Now.
Despite a slight delay in launching Starfield on GeForce Now compared to its PC and console release, the game has already seen improvements in performance. Nvidia has issued a framerate-boosting patch, and Bethesda will be adding DLSS support in the future. With these updates, it remains to be seen if Nvidia can provide a superior cloud gaming experience for Starfield players.
Sources: The Verge