The cloud gaming market is experiencing a strong resurgence and attracts the lusts of heavyweights such as Google or Microsoft. To compete against those giants, Nvidia is seeking to create an alliance with telecom operators, working on the streaming of virtual reality games.
Nvidia gave news of its cloud gaming service, GeForce Now, at its GTC 2019 conference held March 18-21 in San Jose, California. In particular, it will benefit from the new RTX servers that the company unveiled at the meeting. They will provide the service with the capabilities of a GeForce RTX 2080, with ray tracing and DLSS management.
Technical Details That Still Need To Be Improved
We did several game sessions, and not all of them were perfect. In particular, we felt lag in the movement of controllers and tracking problems, but these would be the result of interference from Lighthouse tags (a common problem with Vive headsets at conventions) and not from the cloud service.
We were able to play despite these setbacks, but even when the tracking seemed correct, the experience seemed slower and weaker than locally. Note that this VR stream feature is still under development and that we will, therefore, wait to test a more advanced version to judge its interest.
Streaming For Virtual Reality
This computing power will also allow GeForce Now to offer virtual reality experiences. NVidia made several demonstrations during the event.
The system uses the HEVC compression format to reduce bandwidth. With RTX servers, the recommended bandwidth is 50 Mb/s, knowing that the system can operate in degraded mode up to 15 Mb/s.
An Alliance With Telecom Operators For Cloud Gaming
However, Nvidia already announces that it is working with telecom operators and electronics manufacturers, in this case, AT&T and HTC, to enable wireless headsets to access content from the cloud. Nvidia refers here to the cloud gaming demonstration given by HTC at Mobile World Congress 2019. The Taiwanese company simulated a 5G connection to its hub, then a Wi-Fi connection from the hub to the Vive Focus Plus.
Speaking of partners, the main announcement for GeForce Now was undoubtedly the creation of the “GeForce Now Alliance” program. HTC and its 5G hub are part of it, but Nvidia seems to target telecom operators in particular. Its objective is to expand the number of data centers in the GeForce Now network, with Nvidia itself having only 15 in the United States and Europe. The first two operators to be partners in the program are Softbank in Japan and LG U+ in South Korea. Both will deploy RTX servers by the end of the year.