You have plenty of cloud gaming options at your disposal these days, from Microsoft’s cross-platform Xbox Game Pass to Google’s Stadia platform. There’s also Nvidia’s GeForce Now, which the company has been tinkering with for the better part of a decade, but it’s still not a perfect experience. Case in point: gamers have noticed that Nvidia caps frame rates for some games below 60 fps, even for those on the most expensive service tier.
GeForce Now, Stadia, Amazon’s Luna, and all the other cloud gaming products have their own distinct hardware platforms and features, but the basic functionality is the same. Instead of rendering a game locally with a game console or a GPU, a server does the rendering and streams the video to you. Your control inputs go back up to the server, and provided your connection is fast enough, you’ll be able to play the game normally. Although, there are limitations on how much detail cloud gaming can deliver right now.
A Reddit user who goes by /u/LizzieLovesDaGlizzy recently noticed that some titles on GeForce Now felt a little sluggish. After contacting support, they were provided with a link to a recently posted knowledge base article in which Nvidia points out that some “graphics-intensive” games are locked below 60 fps. There are 12 games on the list right now, and some of them don’t seem very graphically advanced. It doesn’t even matter if you’re subscribing to Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 plan, you still can’t hit 60 fps on these games.
For example, Path of Exile is a free-to-play RPG with a lowly GTX 1050 as a recommended GPU, and Dying Light, which launched in 2015, only lists a GTX 780 as the recommended hardware. Those games are both locked at 50 fps, but some other titles are even lower. Cyberpunk 2077 is an undeniably beefy game — even powerful gaming PCs have trouble running it well. You might expect that Nvidia’s 3080-powered servers could handle it, but no, Cyberpunk is capped at 45 fps.
For most games, 60 fps is seen as the ideal starting point for a smooth experience. Some people have higher refresh monitors or TVs, and there are even displays that scale the refresh rate using G-Sync or FreeSync technology. If you don’t have one of those, though, you might notice more judder in these games due to the fps being locked just shy of 60. It’s unclear if Nvidia considers these frame rates just a fact of life or if future improvements in GeForce Now could boost them to an even 60 fps. For the time being, you should take a peek at Nvidia’s page before you assume a new game will support Nvidia’s advertised 1080p/60 claims.