Nvidia's GeForce Now’s free tier will soon show you up to two minutes of ads while you wait to play - proving nowhere is safe from commercials

NVIDIA GeForce NOW
(Image credit: NVIDIA)

Nvidia’s free tier of GeForce Now, its cloud gaming service, will soon run up to two minutes of ads before you play, according to Nvidia spokesperson Stephanie Ngo.

GeForce Now is a service offered by Nvidia that allows you to connect to digital PC game stores and stream games you already own across a multitude of different devices - including Macs, Windows laptops, iPhones and iPads, Android phones, and more.

It offers three membership tiers, with the free membership offering a queue system with an hour-long gaming session length that will then bring you back to the start of the queue once your time is up. It’s in this waiting time that the ads will be shown, so while it could be a little annoying, your actual gameplay time won’t be interrupted. 

The ads will help pay for the free tier service and keep it free, with Ngo adding that the change is also expected to reduce wait times for free users in the long run - though it’s not entirely clear at this point how that’s going to work. Perhaps Nvidia is expecting the arrival of ads to push users to pay for the premium tiers or simply drive some users away from the platform entirely - either would, in theory, help reduce queues for the free tier.  GeForce Now users should expect an email on 27 Feb to let them know about the changes. 

 Major inconvenience or just … meh?  

I’m not a user of Nvidia’s game-streaming service myself, but I reached out to GeForce Now Members within the TechRadar team and learned that wait times currently fluctuate between five to fifteen minutes - and scrolling through the GeForce Now subreddit proves that wait times can go on even longer. 

Most people who use the free tier of GeForce Now go in aware that they will be spending a not-insignificant amount of time in a queue, so in reality, two minutes of ads when you know you’re likely going to be waiting for longer anyway isn’t much of an inconvenience - it might even help kill some time. Many users are likely to simply do something else while queuing for their free hour timeslot anyway, so why shouldn’t Nvidia get some extra ad revenue from it?

That being said, it is a gloomy example of the inescapable modern torture of being advertised at non-stop. Almost every facet of the internet is packed with ads at this point (this article included - sorry about that, but we’ve got to eat!) and while a lot of platforms offer ad-free paid tiers, it seems like that isn’t enough anymore. 

Amazon Prime has received a lot of (well-deserved) flak for slapping ads onto paid memberships, and Netflix’s ad-supported free tier wasn’t very well-received either. While Nvidia’s latest move seems fairly innocuous right now, who’s to say the ‘up to two minutes’ won’t extend further in the future, until you’re sat watching a full ten minutes of commercials to play an hour-long session of your current favorite game? Do you just give in and buy a paid membership? I just might, personally - but I wouldn’t be happy about it.

Via The Verge 

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Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison.

Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place.

Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).