CHICAGO: After close to a year of beta testing, Nvidia officially launched its Grid on-demand game-streaming service.
Due to become available in North America, Grid will be free through June 30, 2015, for users of Nvidia Shield tablets and portable devices. It will arrive in Europe next month and in Asia next year.
“We intend to build Grid into a premium cloud gaming service, and the best global service,” Nvidia spokesperson Brian Burke told.
After next June, “we plan to transition it to a paid-for service,” he added. “We are working toward a Netflix-like, affordable subscription plan.”
Twenty games currently are available through the service — including Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands 2, Brutal Legend and Psychonauts — and more will be added every week, Nvidia said.
Nvidia recommends a 5-GHz router for wireless in order to take full advantage of the service, so it’s possible some users will need to upgrade Pollak added.
“From a business standpoint, the economics of server deployment is an important factor we are keeping an eye on, but overall I am impressed with the Grid service and interface,” he added.
Grid’s launch Android Lollipop came as part of a suite of announcements on Nvidia’s Shield gaming tablet.The Shield tablet soon will get Android 5.0 Lollipop, as well as a new Valve game bundle.
Nvidia debuted the Shield tablet this summer. Its original Shield handheld gaming device was unveiled last year.
Comparatively speaking, the size of Grid’s game catalog is “not very large coming out,” observed Lewis Ward, IDC’s research director for gaming.”The quality is good in terms of the games, but the sheer number is pretty small,” he told. “That will be a limiting factor.”
Another factor affecting Grid’s ultimate success will be the size of the installed base for Nvidia’s Shield handheld and tablet. Those devices don’t seem to have been selling “all that briskly, though it looks like the tablet is doing better at least early.
More than half the people who participated in Grid’s beta test in Northern California had a Shield device, he acknowledged, which is a pretty healthy proportion.