Apple still steadfastly refuses to allow the new crop of streaming gaming platforms into its walled yard … so they come through the back. Today NVIDIA announced that its GeForce NOW service, which streams PC games users already own, on Steam and other stores, on iOS. The service uses an iPhone or iPad browser to display the streams.
Users can access their GeForce NOW library on iOS by pointing a browser window to play.geforcenow.com. NVIDIA is quick to note that iOS access is in beta: at the moment there is no touch interface and a Bluetooth or Lightning gamepad is required. That means games that require a mouse and keyboard (such as strategy or MOBA titles) cannot be played on iOS in principle.
Other than the control limitations, GeForce NOW on Safari should be more or less the same as on Windows, Android and Chrome OS. Anyone can play for free for up to an hour at a time, with unlimited reconnects. Those looking for “Founders”
A la Game Pass, GeForce NOW does not have its own game access, but there are hundreds of titles available in the Steam, Epic and uPlay PC game stores in case you already have them. There are also dozens of free-to-play games available.
A footnote on Fortnite
One of the most interesting aspects of bringing GeForce NOW to iOS is that it’s technically the return of Fortnite. Formerly the world’s most played mobile game, Fortnite has not graced the Play Store since Epic publicly disdained Apple’s App Store rules for in-app purchases in August.
But there’s a pretty big handicap here: since GeForce NOW uses the Windows versions of its games streamed from NVIDIA data centers, mobile players will play with controllers at best against mouse and keyboard PC players. To say they are likely to be massacred is hardly an understatement.
The good news, however, is that NVIDIA is investigating this. According to initial press information, NVIDIA is working directly with Epic to create a touch interface for Fortnite when running on GeForce NOW. While not ready at launch, this is a touch-sensitive, cloud-powered version of Fortnite would be very similar to the iOS version that hasn’t been available for months. It would be an obvious boon to put iOS players on their own servers – where they don’t have to play against others on PCs, with their skewed control advantages.
You look at me Cyberpunk?
NVIDIA’s announcement contains some news about the future of the service beyond the iOS extension. It expects Chrome users on Macs, PCs, Linux and Android devices to be able to access GeForce NOW without a locally installed client sometime in early 2021. The service itself will also expand to Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks.
Perhaps most notably for PC gamers who already have a large collection, GeForce NOW will also soon have access to libraries on GOG.com (Good Old Games). NVIDIA specifically stated that the company expects Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3 to be the first games available through GOG – although they haven’t said if the functionality will be ready Cyberpunk’s December 10th release date.