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Nvidia and Tencent Partner on 'Start' Game Streaming Service for China

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Nvidia's getting even more involved with game streaming. The company announced this week that it's partnered with Tencent Games, the world's largest game studio, on a new cloud gaming service called Start that's set to launch in China soon.

Nvidia said in the announcement that Start "gives gamers access to AAA games on underpowered devices anytime, anywhere" and that Tencent Games "intends to scale the platform to millions of gamers, with an experience that is consistent with playing locally on a gaming rig." The companies began testing the service in 2019.

It's not clear how involved Nvidia will be in Start's operation. The company said that "Nvidia's GPU technology will power" the service, but aside from that, it seems like Tencent Games is calling the shots. Either way, this partnership could be massive. Nvidia is now the GPU supplier for the world's largest game company's next service.

This is the latest of Nvidia's efforts to improve gaming performance for people who don't want to (or can't) buy graphics cards made with its GPUs. Earlier this year, the company announced the GeForce Now Alliance to "improve the cloud gaming experience globally" by partnering with companies like SoftBank and LG Uplus.

Those partnerships expanded Nvidia's presence in Japan and Korea. The company offers its own GeForce Now service in the U.S. and parts of Europe, too. Partnering with Tencent Games not only helps Nvidia prove its GPUs can handle cloud gaming services, but also gives it better access to the world's largest gaming market, China.

But the partnership won't be limited to Nvidia supplying the GPUs on which Start operates. The companies also revealed "a joint innovation lab for gaming," where they "will work together to explore new applications for AI in games, game engine optimizations and new lighting techniques including ray tracing and light baking."