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May 15, 2021
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Nvidia launches new GeForce Now Priority subscription, as it nears 10 million members

by George Jijiashvili on 03/18/21 11:27:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

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Nvidia GeForce Now cloud gaming service was publicly launched just over a year ago in February 2020, after more than seven years of development and beta testing. Alongside a free tier (limited to one-hour sessions), it was launched with a limited-time offer of Founders membership, priced at $4.99/month, providing priority access to servers, extended session length and RTX On feature for compatible games. The company stopped accepting new monthly Founders members in December.

Nvidia has now revealed a $9.99/month (or $99.99/year) ‘Priority’ membership, which will offer the same benefits as Founders members. Nvidia will continue to honor the existing $4.99 Founders memberships, as long as they keep their subscription. Crucially, its free tier will remain intact.

GeForce Now is a ‘PC in the cloud’ service, which allows users who already own games on Steam or Epic Games Store to play them on less capable devices. This is different to ‘cloud gaming content’ services such as PlayStation Now and Google Stadia, which offer a library of games which users access as part of their subscription, or can purchase.

GeForce Now is expanding its global reach through server deployments, telco partnerships and a growing list of supported devices

To deliver GeForce Now in over 70 countries, Nvidia uses a mix of its own and telco partners’ data centers. GeForce Now is served via 24 data centers around the world, including nine in North America and six in Western Europe. It’s available on a range of devices, most recently Chrome and Safari. GeForce Now boasts nearly 10 million members, with its users able to access over 75 free-to-play PC games and over 800 PC games via Steam, Epic Games Store and GoG.

Nvidia GeForce Now’s growing global footprint

Cloud PC services are expected to remain niche over the next five years, but Nvidia has a lot more to gain from its dominance in this category

There is a growing interest in flagship PC game titles, but a large proportion of the engaged games community does not have access to powerful hardware to run those games locally. PC in the cloud can democratize premium PC gaming: instead of a large upfront hardware investment, these services can be positioned as a way to spread out the cost of PC gaming, cut down on system maintenance time and offer instant games/software updates. Indeed, currently the largest group of GeForce Now users are those with underpowered PCs and laptops.

Several big factors limit the mass-market uptake of cloud PC services such as GeForce Now beyond PC gaming enthusiasts. There is a higher barrier to entry than cloud gaming content services such as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate; the requirement to purchase games separately on other platform such as Steam and Epic Games stores will put off more casual users. The availability of free-to-play games mitigates this somewhat, but the requirement to connect to other games services leads to a disjointed user experience. Furthermore, popular free-to-play titles such as Among Us and Genshin Impact are increasingly cross-platform, meaning gamers can already use their smartphones to play with friends who are using PC or console.

Revenue generated from Cloud PC subscriptions (includes some rentals revenue) will grow from $125 million in 2020 to $899 million in 2025 at a CAGR of 48%.

The new $9.99 pricing certainly makes more business sense for a service with notoriously high running costs, but I believe Nvidia’s ambitions for GeForce Now go beyond the revenue generated from subscriptions. GeForce Now enables Nvidia to flex its cloud server muscles and forge mutually beneficial partnerships with telcos around the world. It demonstrates its GPU capabilities to a much wider audience and builds long-lasting relationship with gamers, who Nvidia hopes would be more inclined to favor purchasing Nvidia’s products in the future. Its freemium model also creates a lot of goodwill and I expect other cloud gaming services to take note. Nvidia’s ongoing investments in GeForce Now are solidifying its position in the cloud gaming market – a market which Omdia believes will play a key role in the future of video games.

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