It’s funny how the times change. When GeForce Now first launched, it was a service that fundamentally wasn’t designed to work in a territory like Australia. Today in 2021, when GPU prices have skyrocketed through the roof and users are legitimately waiting a full year for orders to be fulfilled, cloud streaming is making a lot more sense.
Nvidia announced before the pandemic that they were working with local ISPs to make GeForce Now, their cloud gaming platform, accessible in Australia. Earlier this year, the ISP wasn’t one of the major telcos but Perth company Pentanet.
The service went into a beta form in September, and as of this week the service is now live for all Australians. Pentanet recommends users play over a wired Ethernet connection for best results, with a 25mbps minimum connection for 1080/60fps gaming, and “at least” 15mbps for 720p/60fps gaming. Two servers are currently available in Australia: AU West 1 and AU East 1, according to the official settings.
GeForce Now: Australian Pricing
You can access the platform in one of two ways: via a free tier which limits you to one-hour long sessions, with potential queue times during peak hours. (The free tier will time out after an hour, but there are no limits on how many 1-hour sessions you can have, or limits on how long you have to wait between one session ending and another starting.)
If you want to access ray-traced cloud gaming, or you want access to longer play sessions without having to reconnect, or simply to nick off the queues, there’s a subscription offering called Priority that’s payable either monthly or yearly.
- Monthly access: $19.99/month ($239.88/year)
- Yearly access: $17.99/month ($215.88/year)
Here’s the full list of features you’ll get with your subscription:
Skip the queue and game in the fast lane with Priority Access to Game Servers.
Increased Session Times
Game uninterrupted with unlimited 4-hour Play Sessions—increased from the 1-hour Play Sessions available to Basic accounts.
NVIDIA RTX Technologies Enabled
NVIDIA’s RTX platform includes dedicated RT Cores for ray tracing and Tensor Cores for AI that enable groundbreaking graphical technologies at breakthrough speeds. Experience today’s biggest blockbusters like never before with RTX turned On.
An official release from Pentanet says the $17.99/$19.99 pricing is a limited time offer — but it doesn’t say how long the deal will be available, or what the price will rise to afterwards.
GeForce Now: How to connect
The GeForce Now page and official release sends users to the cloud.gg portal, which is a gamified hub setup by Pentanet. You’ll need to register an account there to access GeForce Now in Australia.
Once that’s done, you can download GeForce Now directly via this link. You have a range of options on how to access the service:
- Either downloading directly to your PC (here’s the Mac file)
- Downloading the GeForce Now app on Android, Android TV
- Accessing GeForce Now through your Chrome Browser, or Safari for iOS/iPad
From there, you’ll be prompted to login to your Cloud.gg account. If you’re doing this through a browser, it’ll redirect you to the Pentanet/cloud.gg portal. You’ll also be prompted to connect your Epic Games and/or Steam accounts so you can access the various games on offer.
GeForce Now: Bandwidth usage
How much bandwidth you use will depend on the exact resolution, bit rate and your desired frame rate. By default, with a variable bit rate and targeting 1080p/60fps, GeForce Now will use approximately 8GB/hour.
You can customise that further, however. By changing the streaming quality from Balanced to Custom, you can choose to either run the game at a higher bit rate, or a different resolution/frame rate combination. Running the service at 1080p/60fps with a maximum bit rate of 50 Mbps will use approximately 15GB/hour, whereas the same settings with a maximum bit rate of 10 Mbps would use approximately 3GB/hour.
The maximum bit rate for the balanced settings appears to be around the 25 Mbps-27 Mbps mark at the time of writing.
What games are playable on GeForce Now in Australia?
GeForce Now works by giving players access to their existing accounts. You don’t have to pay to play League of Legends or Fortnite, for instance, but you will still have to login to your respective accounts for those services when streaming through the cloud.
Not all games on Steam are available on GeForce Now, due to some publishers pulling their games from the service. Nvidia says more than 1,000 games are available at the time of writing, and the front page currently displays Control, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Hitman 3, Satisfactory, Metro Exodus, Elite: Dangerous, Dauntless, Crysis Remastered, Ghostrunner, League of Legends, Apex Legends, Unravel 2, Battlefield 1: Revolution, Dragon Age Inquisition, Steins;Gate 0, Cuphead, Cyberpunk 2077, Watch Dogs: Legion, Mortal Shell and many more.
To see if your specific game is playable, you can search for that game when logged into the GeForce Now app or website. There’s also a text list of games available on the Cloud.gg portal here.
Who’s GeForce Now for?
While GeForce Now might not make a lot of sense if you already have a gaming PC, it becomes a lot more practical if you think about the things you can’t play on your current device. Games, for instance, don’t commonly support Macs (older or newer M1-based versions), but GeForce Now makes a lot more games playable on the Apple ecosystem. Similarly, cloud gaming gives people access to a higher tier technology that the chip shortage has made increasingly unaffordable.
There are still the natural caveats with any kind of streaming technology: it chews up a ton of data and it’s greatly affected by latency or any instability in your internet connection. Other people, or devices, hogging your bandwidth can also lead to a degraded experience either through poor image quality (due to a low bit rate) or poor response times (because of other downloads on the network). But if those things aren’t a problem, or your network is managed correctly to prioritise games and gaming services, cloud gaming can be a way of accessing titles that don’t run on your existing devices at all, or well.