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Play Valheim Without a Gaming PC

Picture of Maki
Co-Founder of Time wasters. I gravitate towards open world, action RPG’s and combat or sandbox survival. I play mostly Xbox Series X, PC or Meta Quest 2 - but my trusty NES is never far away.
play valheim without a gaming pc

Valheim is the biggest (and arguably the best) survival game you can play right now. Its multiplayer experience is popular among streamers and therefore getting an absolute ton of coverage in media. Gamers everywhere are raving. Valheim is undeniably all the rage right now and it seems to be everywhere you look. Currently in early access beta, it can only be purchased through Steam and played on Windows or Linux. 

So what if you’re a console player and don’t have a fancy gaming rig that can handle the lush, pixelated forests of viking purgatory and romantic ocean sunsets that Valheim offers? Well you aren’t out of options just yet. If you have a basic PC, Mac, Chromebook, android phone, tablet or iPhone and a simple controller – you just may still have a shot at surviving this realm and proving yourself to the gods!

valheim on steamGone Fishing | Valheim, Steam.


In order to play Valheim without an expensive gaming rig, we’re going to be leveraging Cloud Gaming. For this tutorial, we’ll use the popular (and free) option of Nvidia’s Geforce Now. If you’re not familiar, Geforce Now is a service that outsources the hard work that a Gaming PC usually takes care of – which is to compute rich videogame data and stream it straight to your device for you! This means that your device has to do little more than just render the video being sent to it, which isn’t much more demanding then streaming an HD video. Since this demand is so little, most basic personal devices are capable of streaming Geforce Now games. You’ll need to have any one of the following devices available to continue;

Device Requirements;

  • A 64-bit Windows computer with Windows 7 or later
  • A Mac running OS 10.10 or later
  • Nvidia Shield TV
  • Chrome Browser 77.x or later
  • Android phone or tablet running and Android 5.0 or later
  • Safari Browser on an iPhone running iOS 14.3 or an iPad running OS14.3 or later.
  • Now if you are using a handheld device or would just like to enhance your gaming experience, you can use one of the following gamepads. Click here for a full list of compatible hardware.

Compatible Peripherals;

  • Any basic keyboard/mouse combo will do
  • PS4 Dualshock controller or Xbox One controller via USB 

To run Valheim smoothly through Geforce Now, you’re going to need a stable and snappy connection to the internet. For this service, you will need; 15mbs down or 25mbs down for 1080p 60fps gaming via Ethernet or 5Gz Wifi.

Now that you’ve chosen your device and are connected to that sweet sweet high speed internet, it’s Valheim time!


Step 1) Signup for Geforce now

Use a sign-in partner to make this step easier, I used Google.

Optional: Download the Windows or Mac client for Geforce to run more smoothly. Or continue in your browser.

geforce now valheim guide

Step 2) Sign up for Steam and buy Valheim (you don’t need to download it)

If you already have Steam, sign into your existing account and purchase Valheim for 23$

Step 3) Search for Valheim in Geforce Now and add it to your library

You should be prompted to sign in to Steam now to connect your account to Geforce Now.

play valheim with geforce now

Step 4) Play Valheim from your library!

Don’t be intimidated by the queue, with 100 gamers in front of me, it only took 3 minutes to get in.

valheim on geforce now

That’s it, you should now be able to play Valheim! You may have to tinker with your controller setup if you’ve connected one. If you’re using a keyboard and mouse – everything should be working smoothly right off the bat.


Geforce Now’s free plan isn’t going to allow you to max any graphics settings, not for a game like Valheim anyway. Their premium plan does offer better performance, more dedicated server bandwidth and longer play sessions. I’m sure that it would allow for play in a much higher resolution, particle quality, draw distance etc – but for the sake of my tests, I used the graphics settings you see below;

valheim best graphic settings

Chrome browser version – Was able to host a private world and join a server but there was considerable input lag and graphical performance was poor. Frame rate was also sub par. 

Windows client version – Was able to host a private world and join a server just fine. Input lag was reduced considerably, although not completely gone. Frame rate picked up a bit compared to Chrome.

To be honest – I didn’t find the Chrome browser experience satisfactory. It is in beta still and it shows. The windows client version however was much better, although not the former visual glory that I’ve seen Valheim in on my Gaming PC – it’s a worthwhile experience. I suspect that using an Nvidia Shield with a monitor or Tv would be even better. 


The Geforce Now experience with Valheim is enough to scratch the itch of playing the mega popular viking survival game, and with an upgrade to a premium plan and a half decent mouse/keyboard, it’s a legitimate option for anyone who doesn’t own a gaming rig themselves. You can also play any titles that you can find on Steam or the Epic games marketplace this way!

I hope this guide helped you find your way into Valheim today. Please let me know in the comments below what worked, what didn’t and any questions that you might have!

Frequently Asked Questions

valheim frequently asked questions

What kind of PC do you need to play Valheim? What specs?

As explained above, you can use Geforce now with any basic PC or Mac. However if you’re curious whether your machine meets the mark. The system requirements for Valheim (PC) are as follows.

Is Valheim more CPU or GPU intensive?

Valheim’s world is procedurally generated, which is CPU intensive but it is a fairly balanced and optimized game. Iron Gate, developers of Valheim have said that Steam players can launch Valheim with Vulkan to resolve some GPU-related crashing issues so feel free to try that out if you encounter problems.

Can a laptop run Valheim?

Yes, certainly! Check the system requirements above or consider Geforce Now if you’re not meeting at least the minimum requirements column.

Is Valheim worth buying in 2022?

Yes! It’s truly one of the best survival, exploration, crafting and survival games out there. In a genre with so much fierce competition and for a game that still hasn’t officially launched… it’s incredibly worth the CDN$ 22 price tag. Over a year since Valheim’s release, I’m still finding things to do and build.

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