Nvidia has been working on its cloud gaming service for years — the free “GRID” test was one of the selling points of the Shield Portable Android handheld back in 2013. The service was eventually rebranded as GeForce Now and expanded to more platforms. Now, it’s finally a real subscription service. However, game publishers seem less than enthused. After several high-profile publishers pulled support for GeForce Now, 2K has followed suit and removed its games from the service.
The first signs of trouble came earlier this year when Konami pulled support for its games. Soon after, Activision Blizzard and Bethesda did the same. Now, 2K has backed out. That means games like Borderlands 3, the Bioshock trilogy, Civilization VI, and NBA 2K are all leaving GeForce Now.
GeForce Now is similar to game streaming services like Stadia and xCloud — your games run on remote servers, and the video streams down to your device. Your control input flows back up to the server, allowing you to play the game. It’s gaming with a really long video cable, and the cable is the internet. Nvidia’s pitch for GeForce Now is a bit different than the competition, and that may be what’s causing publishers to run for the door. GeForce Now connects with existing game distribution platforms like Steam and the Epic Store to host the games you already own in the cloud. You don’t even need to install the titles — GeForce Now creates a new instance of them in just a minute or two.
These companies didn’t have any problem with GeForce Now when it was in beta, but now that Nvidia is charging money? Suddenly, there’s publisher drama. Since Nvidia doesn’t sell the games, it’s not required to provide access to them. When publishers ask Nvidia to remove them, it does so and announces the change on its forums. Angry gamers can complain to the publishers, but nothing will come of that. After all, they still technically own the games and can play them on a local machine.
While we don’t know for sure what’s happening behind the scenes, it seems likely 2K, Bethesda, and the others want a piece of the action from GeForce Now subscriptions. However, this isn’t a “Netflix for games.” People are trying to play games they already own, and Nvidia is just letting them use its hardware to run them. Still, Nvidia doesn’t want to burn any bridges, and that leaves gamers in the lurch.
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