Enlarge /. Nvidia recently announced a limited version of its most expensive GPU for end users. A day later, the company announced a way that PC gamers could enjoy their RTX benefits without buying a new GPU.
Thanks to the delay from Cyberpunk 2077 to September 2020, players will have to decide even longer how to play this highly anticipated game. Existing consoles? The upcoming PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X? Different PC configurations?
We're still waiting for more details on the game's launch strategy (especially on newer consoles), but another option is now even more interesting: playing this stylish, Keanu-colored adventure through the cloud. We already knew that Google Stadia would have the game in September, but Nvidia has now confirmed that it will also be available for its own GeForce Now service on launch day. That means you can buy the game on Steam and then stream the gameplay from one of Nvidia's servers.
On the surface, this availability seems to be similar to what Google Stadia offers. If you want to play the (presumably) sophisticated Cyberpunk 2077 in its "highest quality" at launch and don't want to sign up for a newer console or PC, you can stream the game as it was rendered by a server farm and compete against each other with a hit for latency – what we found in our tests ranges from annoying to bearable to almost unnoticed. Even with a hint of key press lag and a slump in bandwidth constraints, the results could be easier to bear than the sticker price of new hardware.
Nvidia's offering, however, expands the table by two lucrative options that Stadia cannot keep up with. First and foremost is guaranteed support for Nvidia's RTX pipeline with DirectX 12-based ray tracing effects. When you launch CP2077 on a GeForce Now instance, you can enable the game's raytracing effects … as long as you pay for the GeForce Now Premiere membership level, which currently costs $ 5 a month (a rate that Pay users) can be blocked for 12 months if they log in at the time of printing). We're still waiting for a precise breakdown of what these effects will look like in action, or for comparisons to the non-RTX build, but RTX pipeline patches for current games like Control and Wolfenstein Youngblood suggest the results look good – and GeForce Now This is a much cheaper way to guarantee rendering than buying an RTX-enabled Nvidia GPU starting at $ 400.
Google's selection of Stadia games, as rendered by AMD GPU instances, does not yet include any switches for ray tracing or global lighting, and we have no indication that this will change in time for the launch of CP2077 in September.
Your license, your choice
Second, you can still access the game through the Nvidia servers with a resolution of 1080p if you don't pay for GeForce Now Premiere membership … and at the same time have a license to download and install the game on a current (or keep future) PC. This is because GeForce Now syncs with users' Steam libraries. You do not have to buy CP2077 in an exclusive Nvidia shop and you only need to use a streaming copy of the game. (Ideally, Nvidia would like you to sign up for one of its RTX cards at some point and take your games home with you.) The Stadia edition of the game, on the other hand, has to be purchased from the Stadia store from Google and only works via the Google server farm. The licenses will not be transferred to other services at the time of printing.
Nvidia did not immediately answer questions about whether this support would be extended to the GOG version of CP2077. In particular, another major CD project red game, The Witcher 3, has just announced cross-save support between Nintendo Switch, GOG and Steam.
Why such an early announcement of cloud games when CP2077 is a whopping seven months away? Nvidia may wish to assure interested cloud players that its service has valued the support of publishers. Just a week ago, Blizzard drew a bizarre switcheroo by activating the registration for Battle.net games when GeForce Now started and then tearing them away.
There is also the question of how the game can be connected to the future cloud streaming plans from Microsoft and Sony, which Nvidia wants to get to the point. The current Project xCloud test, which is still in closed beta, is a clear indication of Microsoft's cloud streaming support within the Xbox ecosystem. However, it is currently limited to Xbox One S rendering levels. The Xbox division may announce that its streaming service will include high-end streams that match the rendering quality of the Xbox Series X. If this announcement comes with news that CP2077 will receive special improvements for the Xbox Series X, it could make an Xbox purchase of the game all the more tempting. The same goes for Sony and its PlayStation Now streaming arm.
To put it bluntly, CD Projekt Red has not yet announced plans to port special versions of CP2077 to Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.
This article has been updated to clarify how CP2077 purchases work on official streaming services.