Nvidia’s GeForce Now gaming service opens up a huge library of previously only Windows-only titles on Mac. Here’s how you can play popular games like “Destiny 2” and “Witcher III” for free on a newer Mac.
Gaming on the Mac has always been held back, between Apple’s decision not to support Nvidia graphics cards and the publishers’ decision not to port certain major titles on the platform.
Users have long had the option of booting their machines into a Windows environment through Boot Camp, but it’s far from ideal and may still require decent hardware to run the game smoothly.
The GeForce Now product is very similar to Google Stadia. The service streams your game video over the internet to your Mac, with the Nvidia hardware in the cloud doing all the work. This translates to gameplay on maybe dated hardware, in high resolution at 60 FPS, without lag.
We jumped on the GeForce Now version and quickly downloaded it to our 2016 MacBook Pro. This machine, which is now several years old, isn’t the fastest or most capable Mac around.
After painless installation and connection, we could immediately start playing. There is no master list of games, so we followed the featured list and used the search bar to query the games we already own.
We were fans of “Destiny 2” so this was one of the first we tried. We added the game to our library with one click, and then we clicked play. He kicked off the title where we had to log into our Steam account and then the game took off. We ran the title full screen and with a resolution of 1900 by 1200.
You can use a controller but we chose to play with a mouse and keyboard. The game was very smooth and had zero lag when moving, sprinting, and shooting at the alien inhabitants. There was a lot of concern that it was lagging behind, but in our testing we couldn’t tell it was streaming at all, although I’m sure it will depend on your bandwidth.
GeForce Now usage is going to be huge for playing Windows-only titles, but it will also help if you have an aging Mac or an underpowered Mac and want to play newer games on Mac by offloading graphics and the processing constraint on NVIDIA.
Besides Mac, GeForce Now is also available on PC, Nvidia Shield, Android and soon Chromebooks. Unfortunately, there is no planned support for iOS or iPadOS as there is with Steam Link.
Several Appleinsider the staff members had very good experiences. This can vary depending on your connection speed, latency, and distance from an Nvidia data center.
What games can I play?
Currently, GeForce Now has a library of over 50 paid games and over 30 free games.
This includes many extremely popular titles, many of which were Windows only. Titles such as “Witcher III”, “Cuphead”, “Destiny 2”, “Batman Arkham Asylum”, “World of Tanks”, “Tropico 6”, “Fortnite”, “League of Legends” and more.
There is currently no way in GeForce Now to buy games, instead you must own them on one of the supported digital storefronts. Right now, that’s mostly limited to Steam and Epic, so if you want a game like “Borderlands 3,” head over to Epic, buy the title, then log back into GeForce Now.
Where to download GeForce Now
GeForce Now is available as free download from Nvidia. The free version has a few limitations, including a one hour session limit, although you can play as many “sessions” as you want.
If you like GeForce Now, you can upgrade to the paid version, currently called Founders Edition. Founders Edition is free for three months, then $ 4.99 per month until the end of 2020. It includes the ability to jump to queue front, extended play sessions for up to six hours and RTX compatible gameplay.
For fun, you need an iMac from 2009 or newer, MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro from 2008 or newer, or Mac Pro from 2013 or newer and it must be running macOS 10.10 or better. While not specifically listed, we also had a good experience with a 2012 Mac mini.
Internet connectivity requirements are at least 10 megabits per second connection for gaming, 20 megabits per second connection for 720p gameplay. and a 50 megabits per second connection for 1080p playback.