Thursday, January 05, 2017

NVidia Stepping Up on Cloud Gaming and Streaming - Sort Of

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is kicking up this week with tech companies showing off the gadgets they hope will sell in 2017. NVidia stopped in to hold a conference talking about their latest hardware and software upgrades, including a new feature on GeForce Experience to allow for streaming games to Facebook.

This shouldn't be a surprise at this point that Facebook is desperately trying to take away business from rivals like YouTube and Twitch. In early 2016, Facebook began changing up their algorithms to put more emphasis on videos, and added in more live-streaming options for users. The change in the coding means users who post more videos directly to Facebook or stream from the platform will achieve better search rankings compared to other posts. Then in August, Activision/Blizzard struck a deal with Facebook to allow Overwatch and StarCraft II to be streamed on the social media platform first with a simple mouse click. While Blizzard has stated they are going to expand streaming services, they have yet to make any further announcements.

The GeForce add-on is not really breaking any ground, however. You can currently stream from the program with your NVidia graphics card direct to YouTube and Twitch. However the program is considered a B to C grade level since it eats up processing power to utilize their streaming services. Most streamers opt for another program, like Open Broadcast Software or XSplit. Tacking on Facebook for streaming feels like a gimmick that won't win streamers over.

But Facebook is trying! They see the power of video and want to capitalize on it. Until Facebook can lure away streamers from Twitch and Youtube, on the level of PewDiePie, I don't foresee people flocking to Facebook for their streaming content. Yet.

Other takeaways from NVidia: a $25 monthly cloud based streaming service will be available in March. GeForce Now allows gamers to play some of today's graphic heavy games on any computer, including MAC's, for 20 hours. It's unknown which game developers are on board with this plan and how easy it will be for users. The content would have to be held in a series of high power PC's to play the content for a user to be able to play off their 2009 desktop. Nice in theory, but difficult to ascertain the make-up until we see it live.

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