Nvidia forces GeForce Now gamers on free tier to watch ads while waiting to play

Nvidia GeForce Now
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia will display advertisements for free users of its GeForce Now game streaming service, beginning March 5, 2024 (the date has been corrected). The ads will be displayed while gamers wait in the queue. It shouldn't be too surprising as cloud streaming services need to offset costs on free accounts, and Nvidia claims the funds will provide better access for all users.

Nvidia spokesperson Stephanie Ngo says, "Free users will start to see up to two minutes of ads while waiting in queue to start a gaming session." Nvidia also added that since ads are paying for free user service, it expects that it will reduce the average wait time for free users over time. Nvidia will be notifying its free users via email.

Displaying advertisements for cloud gaming service makes plenty of sense, considering other streaming services like Spotify do the same thing. Free users still get access to a cloud gaming service, and Nvidia hopefully can further improve and expand on its service. The paid 'Priority' and 'Ultimate' tiers will continue to enjoy the ad-free gaming experience. Note however that Nvidia increased its subscription pricing in certain regions a few months back, and it also introduced daily rates in January. Clearly, it's looking for ways to better monetize its GeForce Now service.

The Priority package costs $9.99 per month with RTX features, priority access, and 1080p resolution up to 60 fps. Ultimate tier costs $19.99 per month with performance equivalent to an RTX 4080, and it supports 4K and ultrawide resolutions up to 120 FPS. GeForce Now requires at least 15Mbps for gaming at 720p at 60 fps, and 25Mbps for 1080p at 60 fps with less than 80ms latency. 

Challenges with Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming has its benefits when done right, with attractive price plans for different regions. But a free service will inevitably face certain challenges, just like with any other streaming service. In October 2022, Nvidia withdrew from Russia but had its GeForce Now services available via a partnered company until October 1st, 2023.

Nvidia also needs nearby data centers to provide the best quality experience and low latency for GeForce Now users. Despite making important partnerships, having cloud gaming run via your phone's internet data plan can also come at a higher premium. The combination these and other problems ultimately led to Google Stadia's demise.

The main benefit of game streaming, more so with Nvidia, is that it enables many internet-enabled and supported devices to enjoy a high-end gaming experience on otherwise low-cost hardware, providing access to Nvidia's proprietary features like DLSS. Nvidia says GeForce Now provides access to over 1,800 games, and Apple also altered its rules, enabling Nvidia to include GeForce Now through the official app store.

With these and other changes, Nvidia hopes to grow its GeForce Now user base, as well as enticing developers and publishers to jump on the bandwagon.

Freelance News Writer
  • bigdragon
    Advertising is entirely way too pervasive. It's getting harder to avoid.

    However, advertising used to support a free tier of service is fine. I'm surprised Nvidia wasn't already doing this.
  • vijosef
    So you pay a fortune for a gpu, still get the lag and low performance of a cheap gpu over internet, and over it, still have to watch ads, and give away your privacy?

    But you cannot play in a notebook using the GPU of a desktop PC over your own LAN.
  • CmdrShepard
    bigdragon said:
    However, advertising used to support a free tier of service is fine.
    That is how YouTube also started, now they are showing ads to paying customers too.

    This is "foot in the door" tactic, nothing else.

    We should just put all advertisers in a giant rocket and fire them into the Sun.