Just a week after it had its wide release, games have already started disappearing from the GeForce Now streaming service. Activision Blizzard have pulled all of their games from the service, or more accurately, cut of support for the Battle.net game launcher on Nvidia’s servers.
This means that Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2 and Call of Duty games have all been cut from the GeForce Now library.
In a statement, Nvidia said:
As we take GeForce NOW to the next step in its evolution, we’ve worked with publishers to onboard a robust catalog of your PC games.
This means continually adding new games, and on occasion, having to remove games – similar to other digital service providers.
Per their request, please be advised Activision Blizzard games will be removed from the service. While unfortunate, we hope to work together with Activision Blizzard to reenable these games and more in the future.
In addition to the hundreds of games currently supported, we have over 1,500 games that developers have asked to be on-boarded to the service. Look for weekly updates as to new games we are adding.
The reality is that this does little to detract from the appeal of GeForce Now. Unlike Google Stadia, the service isn’t asking you to buy new games, but simply ties into accounts on storefronts like Steam, uPlay and the Epic Games Store, and lets you stream those games from Nvidia’s servers to your device. You can do this on a free tier, or on a premium tier with enhanced graphics and longer play periods for a £5 monthly subscription.
The timing of the decision by Activision would suggest that they have other intentions for your purchases. The company recently entered into a new partnership with Google Cloud for their game infrastructure, which includes shifting their esports streaming over to YouTube. It’s not a big stretch to suspect that this will soon extend to bringing their games to Google Stadia, which has a very different business model to GeForce Now that requires you to buy games afresh. That hasn’t stopped other developers and publishers existing on both platforms (uPlay is part of GeForce Now, and Ubisoft are also bringing their games to Stadia), but Activision’s deal could be different, or they simply don’t want to offer streaming for free.
All of this is another reminder of the fleeting nature of digital ownership and online services. Though GeForce Now users can still play those games on their own hardware, it is still removal of service that might have drawn some people to buy Activision Blizzard games to use with. Welcome to the future, eh?