NVIDIA wants you to do more with GeForce Experience besides recording gameplay and uploading drivers — they want you to be able to share the local co-op experience as well.
There is a lot of the GeForce Experience that doesn't particularly catch my eye. It's not because the program isn't user friendly or I have a problem with the recording software. I don't — it's just that the majority of it services a problem that doesn't exist for me.
I've been happy diving into the NVIDIA Control Panel ever since I purchased a Riva TNT2 for my first computer, a Celeron 733mhz rig. (The first one I paid for myself, that is.) So the proclaimed ability of the GTX 950 to supposedly reduce latency by reducing the amount of pre-rendered frames — something that's not particularly necessary in MOBA's and something that you don't want to be doing a great deal of because it's an entry-level video card — doesn't take my fancy.
What is interesting, however, are the new features due to be added to the "Stream" function within GeForce Experience. A beta will go live some time next month, but here's the basic idea of how it'll work.
Instead of just being able to stream to Twitch or NVIDIA's Shield device, you'll now be able to stream your game session to a single user. You drop an email into GeForce Experience and it sends out an invitation that your friend can open up in Chrome. After installing a one-time plug-in, you then have three options.
The client (the PC you're streaming to) can simply watch the footage like a standard Twitch stream. But if, for whatever reason, they want to hand over control of the gameplay to their friend, then you can do that as well. And finally, if you're playing a game and want someone to help out, you can both join in and start playing together.
Watching the live demo was intriguing — NVIDIA showed it with two machines, controllers and an Early Access build of Trine 3 — but the proof in the pudding will be how laggy the inputs are for the host and the client. NVIDIA also confirmed, although there was some initial confusion, that any game that currently supports local co-op will work with the functionality.
Footage was only being streamed in 720p and 30 FPS quality, and this will be the only option available when the beta version of the new Stream feature rolls out next month. Alex Chang, NVIDIA's TASA technical marketing manager, said the company understood that gamers would want better streaming options, even beyond the 1080p/60 FPS PC standard.
It's pretty clear to see who NVIDIA are aiming at with the feature. If you've ever gone through your friends list on Steam, spotted a game that you didn't recognise and messaged a friend to ask them about it: that's basically the primary motivation.
The client doesn't need to own the game to join in on the action. They don't need to own Steam. Hell, they don't even need to own a NVIDIA card or have GeForce Experience installed (although they do need Chrome, which could be frustrating if you're a Firefox devotee or a recent convert to Edge).
Of course, while it's a cool idea that in theory will broaden people's gaming repertoire, the reality is most Australians will never be able to try this feature even at the crudest settings. Chang said the 720p/30 FPS brodcast required 7mbps, well beyond the normal upload speeds of most Australians (typically 2mbps or less for those not on NBN/fibre/4G connections).
It's a depressing indictment on our infrastructure, a situation that most likely won't change for most Australians (at least in terms of upload bandwidth) by the next decade. Nevertheless, it's intriguing to watch NVIDIA try to make PC gaming more accessible — not just to new gamers or console fans, but to the hardcore PC crowd as well.