nvidia-grid-launch-01Already operating in Beta until today, GRID is officially becoming an NVIDIA product and starting from Tuesday, Nov 18, all SHIELD and SHIELD Tablet device users will be able to connect and play PC streaming games for free, until July 2015. At that time, NVIDIA will likely start charging a fee, but the company was not ready to share its pricing strategy quite yet.

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We’ve had some hands-on time with the GRID service, and the easiest analogy is that it is the Netflix of gaming. The player logs in, picks a game and plays. There’s no installation, and games don’t occupy space on your own storage.

At the moment, only SHIELD device users have access to it, but I suspect that at some point, it will open to more hardware as well in some form, even if having NVIDIA hardware on both end remains the best way to play – we’ll see.

nvidia-grid-launch-04The impressive part with GRID is the low latency: the frame rate can be as high as 60 FPS, provided that your internet connection (download link) is fast enough (DSL may not be enough, but Cable does nicely). NVIDIA compared it with PlayStation now during the demos, and the difference was high: both the FPS and image quality were much higher on GRID, which is backed by powerful PC hardware and a decade of work to reduce the latency at every single point of the game streaming (rendering, compression, network, de-compression, and even game controllers). This is paying off, big time. "THE PROMISE OF CLOUD GAMING HAS BECOME REALITY"

The end result is that you can play high-end PC games, without owning a $1000+ PC. At the moment, there are 20 “AAA” titles available on GRID, but NVIDIA promises to add new games on a weekly basis. As developers will be able to earn revenues from this, expect even more titles to come to GRID, if not launch on GRID, one day.

Cloud gaming opens a lot of possibilities for free demos, spectator mode etc… Onlive had pioneered this to some extent, but was never able to reach this level of quality because they did not control the hardware aspect of it. With GRID, the promise of cloud gaming has become reality for the first time: you can’t really tell if you’re running the game locally, or not.

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