If your laptop can barely muster up the computational strength to read Rock Paper Shotgun without a whole lot of wheezing and complaining, then it likely struggles with anything but the simplest games. One solution to this is GeForce Now which, for those unaware, lets even the weediest hardware play big releases by streaming them from Nvidia’s own ridiculously powerful servers. It’s like your PC is being possessed by considerably more powerful hardware – in a nice way.
While you can do this free of charge on a standard membership, sessions are capped to one hour long, and you’ll be in a queue with all the other freeloaders price-sensitive consumers. The trouble is that the paid option – the £5 per month Founders membership – has been sold out since the service came out of beta. Well, today it’s back in stock, letting you sign up to the service at £5 per month for 12 months.
As well as giving you “priority access” and “extended session length” (i.e: no waiting and no one-hour caps), a Founders membership is the only way to get Nvidia to switch on Ray Tracing for you. Considering the cheapest Nvidia RTX card costs around £300, this is a pretty inexpensive way to cosplay the life of someone with an all-powerful gaming PC.
Of course there are drawbacks. Aside from the fact that you need a fast and stable internet connection to get the most out of it, this isn’t directly comparable to Netflix where the cost of entry covers everything. You actually have to have the games tied to your Steam account.
Worse, Nvidia has had serious problems with offering games that then promptly disappear from the service as publishers pull support. 2K Games, Bethesda, Activision Blizzard: it’s not a short list, and doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Nvidia has since changed the way it’s including games to make it opt-in only which should make a difference, but you have to wonder why this wasn’t the policy in the first place.
Still, if it has the games you want, then GeForce Now is seriously impressive, and I was able to play quite a bit of Wolfenstein 2 on my Surface Laptop smoothly and without trouble… until Bethesda pulled it from the service, that is. My point is that if you want your aging workhorse laptop to have a few more glory days before its put out to pasture, then £5 a month is a pretty good way to do it.