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Nvidia debuts developer program for its game streaming service

Nvidia debuts developer program for its game streaming service

March 15, 2016 | By Alex Wawro

March 15, 2016 | By Alex Wawro
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The folks at Nvidia are looking to grow their GeForce Now game streaming service, and this week at GDC they're launching a formal developer program in a bid to get more games on the platform.

If this sounds familiar, it's because Nvidia has been running a game streaming service in some form since 2014, when it launched as GRID. Since then it's gained a new name, new features and a slate of new games.

"We have about 80 games now, and we've been doing that kind of one-on-one, with publishers," Nvidia's Phil Eisler told Gamasutra last week. They'd like to have more, so now Nvidia is moving beyond custom agreements and standardizing the process -- which could present a notable opportunity for developers looking to get their work on a new service. 

Under the new developer program, publishers will be able to go to a new dev portal that's meant to be "kind of like the App Store or the Google Play store," where they can register as a GSN developer.

"They can upload their game, we'll QA the game, they'll get an agreement for the commercial side," said Eisler.

The business of selling a game on GeForce Now has its own two sides: streaming and outright purchase. Devs whose games are streamed as part of the GeForce Now subscription pack "we pay on a variable basis, depending on usage," said Eisler. "And then there's the store side, where we pay the kind of industry standard, 70/30 terms on pricing set by the publishers. So [devs] can choose to put their game on either side."

Incidentally, even games purchased on the service are streamed -- purchasing a game simply grants a customer a digital game key as well so they can download it themselves to play offline.

If you're accepted as a GeForce Now developer, Nvidia will also set you up with Shield (to be used as a dev platform) and give you access to backend tools you can use to manage your game's assets and descriptions on the GeForce Now store.

So what should you know about optimizing your game for the platform?

Making a game that smoothly scales down in resolution is a good place to start, since Nvidia's service will dynamically dial down game resolution from 1080p to 720p if a player's connection gets bad.

"They should develop their games as they would to be played on a PC," said Eisler. "Our servers themselves run Windows Server with DirectX capability, and we would recommend DirectX 11 as what they should target, for development."

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