The first signs of trouble came during the beta when all Capcom games were removed from the selection of games supported by Geforce Now. Players who had been enjoying these games were then left with no option to stream them. Nvidia did make the announcement that these games would not be available any more but didn’t offer any explanation as to why this change occurred. This would have been doubly troubling to players who had specifically bought any of those games hoping to play them on Geforce Now.
Then once the service left beta, all Activision Blizzard were removed from the service too. Nvidia said that this removal occurred due to a request from Activision Blizzard, but that they hoped to resolve this issue in the future. Subsequently, Nvidia told Bloomberg that this was a case of a “misunderstanding” between the two parties and that Activision Blizzard wanted to agree on a “commercial partnership” before moving forward.
It’s not exactly clear what the nature of the partnership Activision Blizzard was seeking, but it’s entirely possible that it was one whereby they would receive recurring revenue from Nvidia in exchange for allowing their games on the service. At this time, Nvidia said that they have “1,500” ready to launch, although no timeframe was given, nor were any of these titles specifically named.
Upon hearing this news, developer Garry Newman (Garry’s Mod, Rust) told me that Nvidia had reached out to him asking permission to support his games on Geforce Now, which he agreed to without asking for anything in return.
Although he didn’t seem too upset about having potentially lost out on a “commercial partnership” by acting too quick.
Then there was Raphael van Lierop (The Long Dark), who has said that he requested his game be removed from Geforce Now, citing wanting to retain control over where his games exist and saying that Nvidia had never asked his permission to put his game on their service.
On the flip side, Ubisoft has gone on the record saying that they fully support Geforce Now. In a statement to Kotaku, they said:
“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 favourite games”
It’s not clear if Ubisoft’s support will be guaranteed forever, or whatever “forever” would mean when it comes to inherently ephemeral cloud streaming services, or whether Ubisoft were offered a “commercial partnership” that was not offered to all games on the service. Still, for the time being at least, it seems like Ubisoft is onboard.
Similarly Epic has confirmed that their games, which in total pretty much amount to “Fortnite”, will be supported on Geforce Now going forward, and also that should creators of games sold on Epic Game Store choose to support it, they will be able to. We know that games like Borderlands 3 and Red Dead Redemption 2 are not supported, so it’s clearly still on a game by game basis on the Epic Game Store.
It’s a thorny subject that is, to some extent, pitting players and developers against each other. On the one hand, it might seem reasonable to players that if they have bought a game, they should be able to play it anywhere they choose. On the other hand, you have developers who reasonably want to retain control over their intellectual property, and not have a major corporation like Nvidia profit from the use of their intellectual property without first consenting to it.
It seems to me like Nvidia have acted in a somewhat reckless fashion. Why are they even supporting games in the first place without securing permission from the owners of those games? It might help generate increased sales if a developer does allow Geforce Now support for their game, but ultimately that is their decision to make, not Nvidia’s.