People like me who love playing video games but have Mac computers at home often have a case of PC envy.
Almost all the best games debut on PCs and only show up on Macs years later — if at all. With recent PC-exclusive games including “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” getting really popular and “Destiny 2” — the sequel to one of my favourite video games — launching later this month, things have gotten so bad I even considered buying a gaming PC for the very first time.
Fortunately, I found an even better and much cheaper solution, one that turned my 2013 MacBook Pro into a legitimate game machine — Nvidia’s GeForce Now app.
A free download in the US and Canada, GeForce Now lets you play on your Mac the kind of high-end games that typically require a Windows PC computer with a dedicated graphics processor. GeForce Now software is only in beta, but Nvidia is a trusted company when it comes to gaming, and the app works like a charm.
I found out about GeForce Now earlier this week from YouTuber Karl Conrad. After doing some quick research about people trying and failing to use their Macs as game machines, I discovered a random video from Conrad where he talks about the software.
Take a look at GeForce Now:
GeForce Now was developed by Nvidia, which has been working on gaming and mobile computing for 24 years. Nvidia makes all sorts of things, from computing chips to gaming hardware to self-driving car software. But video games are at its core.
About the only way you can play most PC games on a Mac is to run the game on a PC in the cloud and stream it to your computer.
GeForce Now software is in beta testing. Although it's free now, Nvidia will likely charge a monthly subscription fee for it in the future.
Nvidia is promising to eventually make a version of the app for PCs.
After launching it, you'll be taken through some steps to create a free Nvidia account, which authenticates your identity.
GeForce Now acts as a portal to other game stores, including Valve's Steam and Activision Blizzard's Battle.net. You can buy games in those stores or access ones you've already purchased from them.
To purchase and install a game, you just click on its icon in the interface. You can then play it or any other game you have access to through GeForce Now.
To get access to the game, I just hovered over its icon and clicked 'install.'
You'll see this box in the center of the screen for about 30 seconds or so as GeForce Now launches the virtual software required to play the game, running it through Nvidia's hardware in the cloud.
From this screen, I could log into my Steam account and buy the game. Or I could play other Steam games I already own.
You can already run Steam on a Mac, but Mac computers aren't nearly as capable as their PC counterparts when it plays to actually playing all the games you can find and buy on the service. In fact, Macs can't support many of the most popular games available on Steam. That's where Nvidia's software comes in handy.
'Destiny 2' just launched for PCs on October 24. Thanks to Bungie, which was kind enough to offer us a code for the game, and GeForce Now, I was able to play it on my Mac.
I accessed Activision Blizzard's Battle.net software through GeForce Now, used the code to get access to the game, and started playing it in just a few short minutes.
I was immediately struck with how fluid the game looked on my laptop screen, despite running on computer hardware somewhere in the cloud.
I already loved the Retina Display on my MacBook Pro. But I appreciated it even more when I was able to use GeForce Now to play 'Destiny 2' on it. Nvidia's software made everything look silky smooth.
My computer -- again, a four-year-old MacBook Pro -- ran those 'Destiny 2' scenes at around 60 frames per second.
I couldn't believe it. I didn't have to buy another computer or any extra hardware to play the game. I was actually gaming on my old Mac laptop.
GeForce Now is free right now. That's a godsend for someone like me who was just looking for a way to play PC games on my Mac on a whim. But the fact that it works so well also makes it worth paying for down the line, which is surely what Nvidia is counting on.
If you own a Mac, you can download Nvidia's GeForce Now app for free right now. If you're a Mac user who's been wanting to dip your toes into PC gaming without having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a gaming PC, this is your golden opportunity.
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