NVIDIA launched a new category for their cloud streaming service, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, called RTX 3080, offering access to Ampere capable GPUs, as well as up to 1440p at 120fps graphics, 8-hour session lengths, and up to 4K HDR Shield TV resolution. This new tier is $99 for 6 months and replaces the original top tier for the NVIDIA GeForce NOW service.
NVIDIA limits Priority Tier members for their GeForce NOW gaming service, capping frame rates below the advertised 60fps on certain AAA games
What is surprising is what is happening to customers who have already paid for the Priority service. Reddit user LizzieLovesDaGlizzy noticed that when loading Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy game using the Priority service from NVIDIA that the FPS of the game was sitting at a maximum of 50fps and was unable to be altered. The user reached out to NVIDIA's customer service about the issue, only to find that it is intentional and that they limit their Priority tier users for some of the top and newest AAA games.
Why would NVIDIA limit the rendering of frames on certain games for their initial paid tier customers? The company released information that detailed a listing of games that did not process well running at 60fps for their Priority members due to the limitations of the software and hardware for that specific tier. NVIDIA decided to limit framerates in certain games instead of optioning to upgrade performance or the rigs being used.
NVIDIA continues to go as far as to name the limitation “Optimal Playable Settings (OSP),” giving consumers the satisfaction that their games will run at the best processing settings instead of the best graphical settings. NVIDIA GeForce NOW Priority members are still given the opportunity to override the OSP setting in almost all of the 1,100 games currently offered by the service, but there will definitely be a limitation of quality on a handful of games currently. It is unknown if the company will choose to alter more games in the future to cause gamers to spend more or if they will make further changes to the service.
Below is a listing of current games with the frames per second limitation added to them by NVIDIA.
Priority tier service for NVIDIA GeForce NOW is $49 for six months, half the cost of the RTX 3080 top tier service. With this option, users are given the ability to utilize Premium Rig hardware on the cloud, with a limitation of up to 1080p at 60fps. However, on the main page, NVIDIA does not list that certain games are limited to certain "optimal" settings, showing a limitation to frames per second.
For our Priority Members, the maximum frames rendered per second is generally set to 60, or higher, for most of the 1,100+ games we’ve onboarded so far. There are some exceptions that we determined do not run well enough at 60 FPS on the GPUs used by Priority members. So the default OPS for these specific graphics-intensive games cannot be overridden. This is to ensure all Priority members are running a consistent, high-quality experience. However, we do continue to stream these games at 60 FPS.
It is also unknown if the limitations of the service are affecting the RTX 3080 tier members. However, NVIDIA only released a list of games that had limitations of frames per second that only affected the Priority tier members and not the RTX 3080 tier members. VideoCardz notes that the video still streams at 60fps for the Priority tier members, which means that NVIDIA is not outright lying to their clients. But, purposely capping some of the most popular games seems questionable, especially when introducing a much more expensive option, with better quality and longer playtimes.
GeForce NOW is part of a growing sea of cloud-based gaming. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have slowly paved the way into the newest evolution of gaming, allowing customers to not have to purchase either games or hardware, and only have to pay for services to play some of the best games on the market. When NVIDIA announced that GeForce NOW would supply AAA games at premium levels and speeds for consumers, it opened the door to gamers who could not afford the cost of scarce GPUs that are sold on black markets for incredibly high costs. VideoCardz does mention that the cost of an RTX 3080 on Newegg costs around $1500, which equals to above seven years of NVIDIA's cloud-based service with the RTX 3080 tier option.
Cloud gaming from any service, even though is compatible with several platforms, does have its limitations outside of frames per second. Customers run into issues with internet speeds, latency, and more if their connection to the cloud is not with the most ideal settings. We will have to see what NVIDIA and others plan to do for the future, especially if the global shortages do not see a complete end to the crises.