Nvidia boosts GeForce Now cloud gaming service with RTX 3080 clusters

Promises “most powerful gaming supercomputer ever built,” for premium customers

For gamers still having a hard time laying their hands on Nvidia’s much-ballyhooed GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, Nvidia will soon offer an alternative: Rent theirs in the cloud. Nvidia is upgrading its GeForce Now cloud gaming service with new “SuperPods,” each comprising more than 1,000 GPUs similar to those found in its RTX 3080 card. Nvidia claims the SuperPods have more than 39 petaflops of graphics processing capability. 

GeForce Now Founder and Priority accounts can pre-order access to the new “RTX 3080” membership, with six-month memberships priced at $99.99 and in limited quantity. Nvidia anticipates activating the new SuperPods in the United States in November, with Europe to follow in December.

Nvidia promises “next-generation gaming on any device” with the new GeForce Now RTX 3080 SuperPods. Games can display up to 1440p resolution on PC and Mac client applications, and will run at up to 120 frames per second (FPS) in Mac, PC, and Android apps. RTX 3080 members streaming games at 120 FPS will experience latency like game consoles and PCs, said Nvidia. Assuming the player has low enough round trip latency between themselves and the data center to manage that sort of connection, that is. 

The rising tide of cloud gaming

After years of false starts, bold promises but bad deliveries, and extended private and public beta tests, cloud gaming is finally taking off. Cloud gaming services saw a rapid uptick in consumer adoption and infrastructure development over the past two years, as masses of home workers seek fresh entertainment alternatives during the pandemic and accompanying lockdowns. The global market for cloud gaming will reach $1.6 billion in revenue for the first time this year, according to multiple reports.

So far, the biggest players in cloud gaming besides Nvidia are also the biggest players in the public cloud: The usual suspect hyperscalers. Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass runs on Microsoft’s own Azure platform (as does Sony’s PlayStation Now service). Google operates Stadia from its cloud stack. Amazon offers its customers its AWS-based Luna cloud gaming service.

Nvidia’s brand dominance in gaming notwithstanding, the company has become a datacenter powerhouse thanks to the massive computational power of its GPU architectures, which can be found in High-Performance Computing (HPC) clusters. Its datacenter revenues surpassed its gaming revenues for the first time in 2020.

For its most recently reported fiscal quarter, Nvidia reported $2.37 billion in datacenter revenues, up 35 percent year over year and up 16 percent sequentially from the previous quarter. It’s leveraged that deep datacenter and cloud experience to develop GeForce Now, which launched in 2020 after a long beta phase.

Cloud gaming took center stage at this year’s annual video game industry trade show in Los Angeles, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Verizon delivered the keynote address, where it unveiled 5G and real-time MEC advancements aimed at game developers looking for cloud gaming infrastructure.

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