Nvidia on Thursday announced a new subscription tier for its GeForce Now cloud gaming service called Priority that will replace its existing paid Founders tier and contain the same perks like extended session length and RTX support. The catch: the change will come with a price increase, from what used to be a $4.99-per-month subscription to what will now be a $9.99-per-month one for new subscribers. Nvidia will also start offering a $99.99-per-year Priority subscription.
However, those who had active memberships as of yesterday, March 17th, will be eligible for the Founders pricing for life, Nvidia says, which comes out to a little less than $60 per year. The company still plans to offer a free tier of GeForce Now, too, but that tier restricts you to a one-hour session length. Nvidia says the price hike is meant to represent the platform’s evolution since it launched in beta way back in 2015 and entered what Nvidia has referred to as a public testing phase a year ago.
“As GeForce Now enters year two, and rapidly approaches 10 million members, the service is ready to kick things up a notch,” the company said in a statement. “GeForce Now launched out of beta last February with Founders memberships — a limited time, promotional plan. On Thursday, Founders memberships will close to new registrations and Priority memberships, the new premium offering, will be introduced.”
Those who have tried out GeForce Now with a Founders subscription but let that subscription lapse may be displeased to find out that Nvidia does not intend to give the $4.99-per-month pricing to anyone who may have been a paying subscriber in the recent past, even if you let your subscription lapse a few days ago. You’ll need to have been an active, paying Founders member as of yesterday, and you’ll also need to keep the membership active to continue paying the reduced price. If you cancel, you’ll lose the promotion for good.
“Members need to be subscribed to the Founders membership as of 3/17/2021, and keep their membership in good standing, to be eligible for the benefit. If you were previously a Founders member but downgraded, unfortunately you’re not eligible,” an Nvidia spokesperson clarified to The Verge.
To its credit, Nvidia hasn’t sold monthly memberships for some time now, instead selling a promotional six-month bundle for $24.99. That makes it less likely that someone who subscribed any time in the last few months will find themselves ineligible for this Founders pricing perk.
Nvidia intends to continue upping its investment in the platform as it’s proved quite successful, with close to 10 million members, in the otherwise struggling cloud gaming scene. Most recently, Google closed down its in-house game development studios creating titles for its Stadia service, while Amazon’s Luna platform remains in beta.
GeForce Now differs from those platforms by letting members stream games they’ve already purchased from Epic, Steam, and other digital distributors over the cloud. The service’s paid tier launch last year was a bumpy one after high-profile publishers like Activision Blizzard and 2K Games pulled their libraries, the dispute caused by Nvidia streaming those companies’ games without explicit permission.
Since then, Nvidia has switched to an opt-in model to court game makers to the platform on friendlier terms, a strategy that’s paid off as Nvidia has added roughly 10 new games to the platform every week. The company now has a full list of supported titles on its website, a welcome addition after the rocky licensing fallout of last spring.
Nvidia says the tech will keep improving over time, while its “GFN Thursday” new game onboarding will jump from 10 new titles added per week to 15 by the end of the year. GeForce Now will later this month get support for Adaptive Vsync, which “synchronizes frame rates at 60 or 59.94 Hz server-side to match the display client-side, reducing stutter and latency on supported games,” the company explains. Nvidia says it’s also releasing a “new adaptive de-jitter technology” to increase bit rates for games streamed over slower networks. (Nvidia could not, however, provide a timeline for when the platform will support 4K streaming when asked.)
Other benefits coming soon include account linking for games with cross-platform support and improvements to preloading to cut down load times by half, both coming in the next one to two months. Nvidia says it’s also adding data center capacity in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as bringing online its first Canadian data center in Montreal later this year, both of which will help reduce wait times.
As for the company’s iOS beta, which launched back in November, Nvidia didn’t have much new to share. But a company spokesperson did say that “all previously announced projects continue to be on the roadmap in collaboration with the team at Epic,” referencing the ongoing work to bring Epic’s Fortnite back to the iPhone and iPad via GeForce Now on the mobile web after it was banned by Apple and Google last summer.