GeForce Now just gave M1 MacBooks a huge gaming boost

macbook air m1
(Image credit: Future)

Although the MacBook Air M1 and Mac mini M1 managed to impress us with their impressive performance and incredible efficiency, some are still wary about moving away from Intel based machines. There's a good reason for this: Apple is quite transparent that the new architecture isn't compatible with all software, and while this gap will close over time, if your software of choice isn't there, then it's hard to justify the upgrade.

And while few would buy a Mac purely for the gaming options, those with a new M1 MacBook or Mac mini just got a whole lot more choice. With GeForce Now 2.0.27, Nvidia has added compatibility for M1 Macs in the official macOS app. That, along with games playable via an Apple Arcade subscription, makes the new hardware a far easier sell to those who like to occasionally play games. 

It’s not just owners of the new Macs that will benefit either. At the same time, Nvidia has added support for the Google Chrome browser, opening the door to millions of entry-level laptops to stream games remotely. As long as they can run a Chrome window, they suddenly have access to over 2,000 games

Nvidia says the added Chrome support is intended for Windows and macOS machines (ChromeOS was already added last August). "Other platforms may work, but are unsupported," the notes explain. 

For those unfamiliar, GeForce Now lets even simple hardware run triple-A games by connecting you to a high powered gaming PC in the cloud which does the heavy lifting for you, before streaming the video output back to your device. 

It's not a streaming service in the same way that, say, Netflix is though. You have to own the games you want to stream on Steam, the Epic Games Store or similar, and while you can pay a subscription membership (currently $24.95 for six months), it doesn’t include games – it just adds features like priority access, removes the one-hour session length of the free tier and adds support for ray tracing. 

In theory, any game can run on GeForce Now – and the service includes both hardware-intensive titles like Cyberpunk 2077 as well as free games such as Apex Legends. But it requires game publishers to opt in, which some were initially reluctant to do, feeling they were theoretically funding Nvidia's paid memberships with no financial incentive to do so. 

Things seem to have calmed down a bit now, but you can read the full list of games here to ensure your favorite title is in the mix before signing up.    

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.

  • clebbington
    I have the entry level M1 Air, and I thought I'd give GeForce NOW a try, but I was really underwhelmed. Of the 200+ Steam titles I own, only 45 were available - and they don't even provide you a list of which games those are. You have to manually search for each title one by one and add them to your library. Also, of the harder to run games in my library (Red Dead Redemption 2, Metal Gear Solid V, Yakuza 0, etc) the only one supported was The Witcher 3, which is already playable on my MacBook with decent performance via Crossover. Regardless, I thought I'd give it a try - but there were 139 people in front of me in the queue. I think a better solution for M1 owners is to use something like Nvidia Gamestream instead.