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NVIDIA GameStream End Of Service Announcement FAQ

Cameron Gutman edited this page Dec 19, 2022 · 1 revision

This FAQ page covers frequently asked questions about NVIDIA's GameStream End of Service Notification.

Why does NVIDIA's announcement impact Moonlight?

The Moonlight project implements unofficial open-source clients for NVIDIA GameStream. The host software that Moonlight connects to is part of NVIDIA GeForce Experience, so it is under NVIDIA's control and depends on their ongoing effort to fix bugs and implement new host-side features. NVIDIA has recently announced that they will no longer be supporting the GameStream feature.

While NVIDIA's announcement is primarily centered around the removal of GameStream support from their official NVIDIA Games client, it's highly unlikely that they would continue to invest maintenance resources in the host software when no official clients exist. For this reason, we believe that NVIDIA will fully remove GameStream support in a future update to GeForce Experience.

If/when NVIDIA removes the GameStream functionality from GeForce Experience, Moonlight will no longer be able to connect to it for streaming.

What does this mean for Moonlight?

In the short term, nothing. Moonlight will continue to be usable with host PCs running the latest version of GeForce Experience until at least mid-Feburary, according to NVIDIA's announcement.

Inline with our long-term goal of providing an excellent open-source game streaming solution, we will increase our efforts to improve the Sunshine project, which acts as an a free open-source host for Moonlight. In addition to NVIDIA GPUs on Windows, Sunshine supports hosting on AMD and Intel GPUs and on macOS and Linux. It's not at performance parity with GeForce Experience yet, but we hope that we can close the performance gap and improve ease of use by the time that support for GameStream in GeForce Experience is dropped.

By investing our time in making Sunshine a top-tier game streaming host, we can ensure that the whims of a single company cannot unilaterally impact the game streaming community again.

What will happen to Moonlight in mid-February?

NOTE: The following is educated speculation based on our experience with GeForce Experience updates. We may update this if new information arrives.

Past mid-February, the status of the hosting GeForce Experience is unclear. It's likely that the GameStream functionality will be present in GeForce Experience for a little longer, since major GeForce Experience updates don't arrive very often.

Even when the functionality is removed in GeForce Experience, it is likely that GameStream can still be used by running older versions of GeForce Experience (and blocking the automatic update mechanism). This might also require older GPU drivers, but historically older GeForce Experience versions and GameStream have been compatible with newer drivers without issue.

Because GeForce Experience contains a list of GameStream-supported GPUs, it is likely that GPUs launched after mid-February will not be usable for GameStream, even running older versions of GeForce Experience.

How will Moonlight change after GameStream support is removed from GeForce Experience?

That will depend on how the removal works in practice and what our users want.

If the majority of users continue to stream from older versions of GeForce Experience, the changes to Moonlight will probably be minimal. If streaming from older GeForce Experience versions becomes impossible or impractical, we will focus on writing more Sunshine-specific features.

While the performance and capabilities of GameStream in GeForce Experience was excellent, it did limit our capabilities in some ways. For example, microphone support was implemented for GeForce Now but never for GameStream. Similarly, major features like PS4 or Xbox One controller emulation, trigger rumble support, client-side cursor rendering, and AV1 encoding support were not possible due to host and GameStream protocol limitations. Now that we no longer have to worry about introducing compatibility issues with future versions of GameStream, we can implement features like these in Sunshine.

In any case, it is unlikely that we will remove support for streaming from GeForce Experience for the foreseeable future, even if Sunshine becomes the preferred hosting solution for Moonlight.

Was the Moonlight team given advance notice of this?

No, we found out when the public announcement was made.

While it would have been nice to know in advance, it's completely understandable that NVIDIA did not do so. We have no official relationship or agreement with NVIDIA, so there is no NDA in place or anything that would provide legal protection for them that we wouldn't leak the news to the media (though we would certainly not have done so, even in the absence of such an agreement).