Earlier this week, we learned that Activision Blizzard’s games were being pulled from Nvidia’s recently launched GeForce Now cloud gaming service. The move came as a bit of a shock and not much explanation for the change was provided. Now, we know that the change came down to a misunderstanding over Nvidia’s premium ‘Founders’ streaming tier.
As reported by The Verge, Nvidia reached out to Activision before the launch of GeForce Now to check that the publisher was alright with its games and Battle.net service staying on the paid version of the service. It was here that the misunderstanding took place, as Activision Blizzard apparently did not give permission:
“Activision Blizzard has been a fantastic partner during the GeForce Now beta, which we took to include the free trial period for our founders membership”, an Nvidia rep said. “Recognising the misunderstanding, we removed the games from our service, with hope we can work with them to re-enable these, and more, in the future.”
In a separate report from Bloomberg, Activision Blizzard apparently wanted to negotiate a new commercial agreement before its games could be offered on Nvidia’s paid service. However, Nvidia’s business model for GeForce Now isn’t really based on commercial partnerships, with players instead buying their games through existing platforms like Steam, Battle.net, Epic Games Store, uPlay etc and then paying Nvidia a separate fee to stream those games from a data centre, using their own account log-ins to ensure games are owned.
Activision Blizzard isn’t the only publisher seemingly hesitant on this idea though, with Rockstar, Square Enix, Konami, Capcom etc also joining that list. At this point in time, Activision Blizzard has a deal in place with Google for esports event streaming on YouTube. This could potentially expand to its games being available via Google Stadia instead at some point.
KitGuru Says: I really like the idea behind GeForce Now, but it sounds like some publishers are having issues with not getting a cut of the additional revenue stream. Some of the hesitant publishers may come around eventually though, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for more announcements in the months to come.