Microsoft, Warner Brothers and Codemasters are the latest publishers to pull their games from Geforce Now
Seems like Nvidia can’t catch a break, as more major publishers have made the decision to remove their games from their GeForce Now streaming service, as the latest update confirmed that games from Xbox Game Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Codemasters will no longer be available on their service.
This means that titles from WB like the Batman Arkham games, Mortal Kombat, Injustice and many of the LEGO games will no longer be available. Microsoft games like Halo: Master Chief Collection, the Forza series, and Gears of War are being pulled. Codemasters titles like GRID, Dirt, and F1 will also be removed from the series.
In addition to those major publishers severing their ties with the service, we’re also seeing indie studio Klei Entertainment remove their games, so titles like Don’t Starve, Mark of the Ninja and Oxygen Not Included will no longer be available either.
This news follows on the heels of publishers like Activision Blizzard, Capcom, Square-Enix, and others removing their games, and Bethesda removing all their games except for Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
We had a look at the broader issue of why games were being removed last month, and it’s hard to see this new development as anything but the beginning of the end for Geforce Now, where aside from a few exceptions, they can’t seem to convince any major publishers to keep their games on the service.
Perhaps the silver lining is that they’ve been able to convince Ubisoft to redouble their commitment to the service. It’s not clear exactly what terms the deal between Ubisoft and Nvidia is has been made under, or how Nvidia has been able to keep Ubisoft happy, but Chris Early, senior vice president partnerships at Ubisoft, has shared this statement:
“Ubisoft fully supports NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW with complete access to our PC games from the Ubisoft Store or any supported game stores. We believe it’s a leading-edge service that gives current and new PC players a high-end experience with more choice in how and where they play their favorite games.”
Titles like Rainbow Six Siege, Assassin’s Creed & Far Cry are confirmed to be remaining on the service.
We’ve also heard that Bandai Namco will keep their games on the service, where executive producer at Bandai Namco Katsuhiro Harada has said:
“From Darks Souls III to Tekken 7, we’re seeing an increase in gamers that we can attribute to GeForce NOW. The service is a great way for new players to experience our upcoming games, and for our existing players to continue enjoying them.”
In addition to these major publishers, there’s Bungie, who’s only current game is Destiny 2, and Epic, who’s only current game is Fortnite. These are both reasonably scalable games and are both Free to Play and support cross-platform progression, so perhaps it’s understandable that the stakes are far smaller for retaining control over what platforms they appear on: Both these developers want more people playing these games on as many platforms as possible, whereas major publishers are perhaps more concerned with broader long term platform strategies, and protecting upfront sales of their games.
In an attempt to reassure their end-users, Nvidia said this:
“Behind the scenes, we’re working with digital game stores so publishers can tag their games for streaming on GeForce NOW, right when they publish a game. This will help us bring more games to the library, quicker, as well as provide a more stable catalog.
We’re transitioning as many games to GeForce NOW as possible over this time. For those leaving, we’ll give gamers as much notice as possible. Games from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, XBOX Game Studios, Codemasters and Klei Entertainment will be removed from the service on Friday, April 24. We hope they’ll return in the future.”
Tonally, it feels a little like damage control.
It’s nice to have hopes, but it’s not really clear what exactly those hopes are based on. Certainly it seems like a good move to ask storefronts to clearly display which games will be supported and which won’t, and in fact, it’s something we specifically suggested in our article last month. However different parties feel about these questions of how game ownership will with regards to cloud game streaming services going forward, providing customers with increased clarity can only be a net positive.
For Microsoft specifically, it’s no surprise. Not only are they a game publisher, but they are a game platform holder in their own right, and an industry leader in the cloud computing industry, with server farms around the world. They are currently running a beta for their xCloud streaming service, and whilst Nvidia likely was quite keen to secure Microsoft’s consent to include Xbox Game Studios titles on their service, it’s likely that Microsoft’s broader strategy is to use their games to bolster their own game streaming service. Microsoft and Nvidia do partner on a lot of different products and services, whether that’s Nvidia GPUs powering many of the Windows computers and laptops or projects like Minecraft RTX, but it would appear that they were not able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement on this particular matter.
It’s hard to see just how GeForce Now can continue to be a viable service going forward. Sure, if the games from the handful of companies that have made a firm commitment to supporting Geforce Now are the only games you’re interested in, then it is one option to play these games, but if you’re interested in the broad swathe of games that make up PC gaming in 2020, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. The list of games available as part of Microsoft’s xCloud Beta is fairly impressive, with even publishers which have removed their games from Geforce Now, like 2K Games, Capcom and Codemasters, opting in to participate in the beta to some extent. It’s going to be interesting to see how xCloud compares to Geforce Now when it fully launches.
How do you feel about these games being removed? Are you going to be less likely to use a cloud service like Geforce Now going forward? Does this uncertainty color your feelings about cloud game streaming services in general?