Nvidia shows how GeForce Now 5G streaming could make high-end gaming hardware irrelevant

GeForce Now

Want to be able to play the latest games on a cheap laptop when you’re out and about? It sounds like a dream scenario, but this is a drum Nvidia has been banging for some time, and the firm has just carried out a demo in order to show this will be possible in the future using its GeForce Now cloud tech and the power of 5G.

As The Register reports, over at the AT&T Spark conference, Nvidia’s vice president of sales, Paul Bommarito, gave a demonstration to show that you can play games on a bog-standard laptop streaming with GeForce Now over 5G.

And without needing a top-end gaming laptop – while the exact nature of the machine wasn’t specified, it was made clear that it wasn’t some hefty beast of a notebook – 60 frames per second was achieved in Full HD resolution with a lag of 16ms. As online gamers will know, that level of latency is totally playable, and indeed won’t even be noticeable to many folks.

There was no special setup for this demonstration, or dedicated internet connection, although the caveat is that the 5G base station was situated in the actual demo area, which is an ideal scenario.

And of course that’s the crux of the matter – this (obviously) requires 5G to be fully realized before these sort of dream gaming-on-the-go situations can be enjoyed.

Praiseworthy ping

But it’s another enticing glance at the future, with Nvidia promising that it’s targeting a reduction of latency down to 3ms eventually (which really won’t be noticeable, and more to the point, may allow for streaming the likes of virtual reality when adoption of VR games and experiences picks up down the line, without the latency worsening any potential ill effects in terms of nausea).

All this is moving towards a world in which hardware will eventually become totally irrelevant, and all you’ll need is an internet connection to stream directly to your display of choice, with a subscription model for games running along the lines of Netflix (and hopefully priced at a similarly sensible level).

Although all this depends not just on Nvidia’s tech, but the countrywide broadband infrastructure – both fixed and mobile – keeping pace with exponentially growing bandwidth demands.

Nvidia’s GeForce Now game streaming service is still in beta right now (having opened its doors back at the start of the year), but with the company talking it up at regular intervals, we can perhaps hope to see something more concrete in the near-ish future.

Other benefits of the service include having all your games automatically patched, and having saves kept in the cloud, backed up and available across all your devices.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).