GeForce Now is no longer quite the same enticing proposition as it was at launch last week. In a turn of events that may come to characterize the future of cloud gaming services, NVIDIA has lost the games of a prominent publisher.
Late yesterday, NVIDIA informed uses via its official forum that Activision Blizzard’s entire Battle.net catalog is no longer available on the platform.
A short statement explains that NVIDIA removed the games per Activision Blizzard’s request. NVIDIA staff member Cory@NVIDIA, who authored the post, stopped short of providing concrete reasons for the sudden removal of the publisher’s games, which include Overwatch, Call of Duty, and World of Warcraft.
The statement reads;
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.
The out of the blue nature of the news suggests a deal gone sour prompting Activision Blizzard to take its ball and go home. Games come and go as we saw with Persona 5’s three-month stint on PlayStation Now. But, a week on from the launch is too sudden to trace back to a licensing oversight or similar administrative blunder. Especially, after the games featured as part of the two-year-long GeForce Now beta.
Speculatively speaking, a freshly signed deal with Google may shed some light on Activision Blizzard’s decision. Could this be the first sign that the publisher’s library is making its way to Google Stadia?
It’s pretty damning stuff for GeForce Now, a service that looked to offer a cloud streaming service that gamers could finally get behind. The promise of carrying one’s existing library over to NVIDIA’s RTX-enabled servers to play games at 1080p/60fps loses some its shine when Activision Blizzard’s library isn’t part of the equation.
Nevertheless, the service is still great. It’s already miles better than Stadia despite only launching last week. We tried it out and were impressed with the results.
Additionally, NVIDIA says developers are lining up to bring over 1,500 games on board. The company also hopes to reintroduce Activision Blizzard games in the future.
Whether today’s news foreshadows a tug-of-war between competing cloud gaming platforms for publisher libraries is unclear. But, it has all the markings of what defines the film and TV subscription-based streaming space.