After years of struggling to make its game streaming service a reality, Nvidia finally launched GeForce Now earlier this month. One of Nvidia’s main selling points was that players would be able to bring the games they already owned to the service. However, there’s already a wrinkle in that plan. Nvidia announced via its GeForce Now forums that players are losing access to all Activision Blizzard games.
At launch, the Activision Blizzard was one of the game companies Nvidia called out by name with popular titles like Overwatch and Modern Warfare. Some gamers even purchased those titles from Activision Blizzard specifically to play on GeForce Now. It would appear Nvidia didn’t build any sort of guaranteed access into the deals it signed with game publishers, which could come back to bite it. At the same time, Blizzard has removed Warcraft 3: Reforged from AMD’s Raise the Game Radeon GPU Bundle. We don’t know if these moves are related, but the timing is suspect.
Naturally, gamers are expressing their displeasure in the Nvidia forums and via Blizzard’s Battle.net support site. However, Nvidia doesn’t make any promises about game availability, and Activision Blizzard’s EULA specifically shields it from refund requests in situations like this. It technically hasn’t deprived customers of the content — it just changed the way you can access it.
Nvidia’s competitive pricing of $5 per month made GeForce Now look like a strong challenge to Google’s Stadia service when it launched. Many gamers were also enticed by the support for games they already owned. Many games would work instantly on GeForce Now after linking Steam, Uplay, and other services. Meanwhile, Stadia requires players to buy games even if they already own them on other platforms. We’re seeing the other side of the coin now — if a game publisher decides it doesn’t want to support GeForce Now, you could lose access to the titles you’ve been playing. You still “own” the game on that other platform, but you might not have any way to play it without GeForce Now.
Nvidia is quick to point out there are still hundreds of supported games, and more than 1,500 are in the queue to be on-boarded. Gloating about the number of games seems less effective than it would have been last week, though. People won’t want to invest time in games that might just disappear from GeForce Now at any time.
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