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    Thread: Activision Blizzard pulls all its games off Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service

    1. #1
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      Activision Blizzard pulls all its games off Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service

      Call of Duty titles, World of Warcraft, and more disappear with no warning




      Sekiro


      Nvidia’s streaming service, GeForce Now, got some positive buzz when it finally came out of beta last week after years of testing — especially compared to last fall’s lackluster launch of Google Stadia. But if its library keeps hemorrhaging games, it will likely have a tough time getting people to sign up for subscriptions.
      Without any warning, Nvidia announced in a forum post on Tuesday afternoon that Activision Blizzard was yanking all of its games off of GeForce Now. The list — which amounts to 20 titles — includes 10 different Call of Duty games from 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare through 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, along with other Activision-published games such as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and beloved Blizzard titles like Hearthstone and Overwatch.
      Maintaining a streaming service “means continually adding new games, and on occasion, having to remove games — similar to other digital service providers,” said Nvidia. “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.”
      GeForce Now isn’t a perfect analog of other digital subscriptions, however. For one thing, while platforms like Netflix regularly rotate content in and out of their libraries, they give customers a heads-up about what’s coming and going in the near future. In this case, the Activision Blizzard games left GeForce Now the same day that Nvidia announced their departure from the service.

      It’s unclear why the games disappeared now, one week after GeForce Now officially launched, especially since multiple Activision Blizzard titles were playable during the service’s beta. Their departure from GeForce Now may have something to do with the
      exclusive streaming agreement that Activision Blizzard signed with Google last month, under which the publisher’s esports competitions will be streamed exclusively on YouTube and its games will rely on Google Cloud as the “preferred provider” for their network infrastructure. Is it possible that Activision Blizzard removed its games from GeForce Now because it wants to bring them to Stadia in the future? We’ve asked Nvidia and Activision Blizzard for comment, and will update this article with any information we receive.


      In a forum post in December, Nvidia said that “there are both technical and business hurdles that must be cleared when we’re bringing a game to the service.” But while Nvidia has to work with publishers to bring games to GeForce Now, the company presumably strikes different kinds of licensing agreements than the ones for, say, Xbox Game Pass. That’s because of the one big catch with GeForce Now: It only lets you stream games that you already own, with support for marketplaces like Steam, Uplay, and the Epic Games Store.
      Users can try the service for free in one-hour sessions, or sign up for a one-year “Founders” membership, which is free for 90 days and $4.99 per month for the next nine months — so in essence, subscribers are paying for priority access, and it’s unclear whether Nvidia is compensating game publishers for making their titles available on GeForce Now. Either way, the service has had a somewhat disconcerting debut: Games from major third-party publishers such as Capcom, Electronic Arts, and Square Enix were available in the beta but were nowhere to be found at launch, and now you can add Activision Blizzard to that list.
      Nobody who subscribes to an on-demand streaming service like Hulu or Disney Plus has any expectation of owning the content, and at this point, most of them probably understand that the next month could always bring news of their favorite movie or TV show leaving the platform. But in the strange case of GeForce Now, not even owning the games in question and paying for a subscription guarantees ongoing access to stream them.
      Here’s the full list of Activision Blizzard titles that are no longer available on GeForce Now:
      Activision

      • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
      • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
      • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
      • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
      • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
      • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (multiplayer)
      • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (single-player)
      • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (multiplayer)
      • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (single-player)
      • Call of Duty: World at War
      • Call of Duty: WWII
      • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
      • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
      • Spyro Reignited Trilogy

      Blizzard Entertainment

      • Diablo 3
      • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
      • Heroes of the Storm
      • Overwatch
      • StarCraft Remastered
      • StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void
      • World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
      • World of Warcraft Classic

      Update: An Nvidia spokesperson told Polygon on Wednesday night that the company doesn’t have any further details to offer beyond the information in the forum post. The representative said they couldn’t comment about the nature of Nvidia’s arrangement with Activision, or about why the companies happened to go their separate ways at this particular juncture.

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      Nvidia: GeForce Now lost Activision games over ‘misunderstanding’




      Company hopes to get them back to streaming service later



      Call


      Nvidia says its GeForce Now service lost its library of 20 Activision and Blizzard games because of a “misunderstanding” over permission to continue offering them once the cloud gaming service left its beta period.
      Nvidia didn’t describe exactly what the misunderstanding was in a statement yesterday, but did say it hoped to bring back Activision Blizzard games in the future. The full statement:
      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. Recognizing the misunderstanding, we removed their games from our service, with hope we can work with them to re-enable these, and more, in the future.”
      Bloomberg reported that Activision Blizzard wanted to negotiate a new commercial agreement for its games when GeForce came out of its beta period. Nvidia, according to Bloomberg, doesn’t want that kind of arrangement for GeForce Now. Its players may only stream games they already own from marketplaces like Steam, uPlay, Epic Games Store, and Battle.net.
      GeForce Now had also removed games from publishers such as Rockstar Games, Square Enix and Capcom before the service went to premium pricing. The Verge noted Friday night that GeForce Now’s boss said publishers “are taking a while to make up their minds” about participating according to Nvidia’s no-commercial-agreements model, which doesn’t give them any extra money.
      Furthermore, the disappearance of Activision Blizzard games from GeForce Now does not have anything to do with the exclusive streaming agreement the publisher and Google signed in January. In its quarterly conference call with investors on Feb. 6, the publisher said Stadia is not a part of that arrangement. That pact dedicates the publisher’s esports events to YouTube and specifies Google Cloud as the “preferred provider” of network infrastructure.
      What this really means to a PC gamer considering GeForce Now is that they’re paying a premium for streaming access to games they already own — and yet they may lose that access at any time. GeForce Now offers free one-hour trial sessions to anyone, and a “Founders” membership that is free for the first 90 days, then $4.99 a month for the following nine months.

    3. #3
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      Nvidia’s GeForce Now loses Bethesda Softworks games



      Second major publisher to pull its catalog following streaming service’s launch



      Wolfenstein

      A week after losing all its Activision Blizzard games, Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service has lost “most Bethesda Softworks titles,” Nvidia said in an announcement Friday afternoon.
      Wolfenstein: Youngbloodwill remain available for all users, Nvidia said. An Nvidia representative later told Polygon that Youngblood will be the only Bethesda title to stay on the service. Other Bethesda games leaving GeForce Now include the remainder of the Wolfenstein series; Fallout 3, 76, and New Vegas; The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim(and its Special Edition); Doom(2016); Dishonored and Dishonored 2; and The Evil Within 2.
      Nvidia had no additional comment beyond the brief blog post. On Feb. 11, Nvidia announced that GeForce Now was losing support for 20 Activision Blizzard games. The company later said in a statement that it had removed those titles because of a “misunderstanding” over permissions to continue offering them when the cloud gaming service left its beta period.
      GeForce Now came out of beta at the beginning of February. It allows users to stream select games that they already own and have access to through other digital storefronts (such as Steam or the Epic Games Store). GeForce Now offers free one-hour trial sessions to anyone, as well as a “Founders” membership that is free for the first 90 days, then $4.99 per month for the next nine months.

      Last week,
      Bloomberg reported that Activision Blizzard had sought a commercial agreement with Nvidia specifically for its games’ support, which Nvidia declined. In addition, The Verge reported that GeForce Now chief Phil Eisler acknowledged that publishers “are taking a while to make up their minds,” which somewhat explains the transient nature of GeForce Now’s catalog. Games from other publishers like Capcom, Rockstar, and Square Enix also left the service before its full launch.


      On Thursday, Eisler wrote a recap post calling the 90-day trial period offered to Founders subscribers “an important transitional period where gamers, developers, and publishers can try the premium experience with minimal commitment while we continue to refine our offering.
      “As we approach a paid service, some publishers may choose to remove games before the trial period ends,” Eisler continued. “Ultimately, they maintain control over their content and decide whether the game you purchase includes streaming on GeForce Now. Meanwhile, others will bring games back as they continue to realize GeForce Now’s value (stay tuned for more on that).”
      Eisler added that “game removals should be few and far between, with new games added to GeForce Now each week.”
      Reached by Polygon, an Nvidia rep declined to comment when asked if Nvidia expected GeForce Now to lose access to other publishers’ titles. Ubisoft has several games in the streaming service’s catalog, as do 2K Games, Warner Bros. Games, Sega, and Codemasters.
      Polygon also reached out to a Bethesda representative for comment, but did not receive a reply by publication time.


      ----------

      can we see these are just nails in the coffin for nvidias geforce


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      Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service loses another game over licensing dispute




      Developer of The Long Dark says his studio wasn’t asked permission to include the game






      On Sunday, Raphael van Lierop, founder of Hinterland Studio, announced that The Long Darkwas being removed from the GeForce Now streaming service. He said Nvidia never asked for permission to include the game on its platform. When he raised the issue, he says his team was offered a new graphics card by way of apology. It’s just the latest in a series of strange licensing disputes to crop up with Nvidia’s streaming service, which exited a lengthy beta period earlier this year.
      “Sorry to those who are disappointed you can no longer play #thelongdark on GeForce Now,” van Lierop tweeted. “Please take your complaints to them, not us. Devs should control where their games exist.”
      GeForce Now lauched in 2015, giving consumers the ability to stream games from the cloud to Nvidia’s Shield device. Over the years the service’s capabilities have expanded to include other platforms such as traditional computers. As of today, Now allows subscribers to play games they already own remotely many different platforms, but what specific games are compatible has been a major point of contention between Nvidia and publishers.
      In early February, Activision Blizzard asked Nvidia to delist all of its games from the streaming platform. The conflict removed subscriber access to games in the Call of Dutyfranchise as well as World of Warcraft. Several days later, both parties claimed it was all due to a “misunderstanding.” The following week the majority of Bethesda Softworks’ titles were taken down as well. Games from publishers such as Capcom, Rockstar, and Square Enix are also conspicuously absent, even though they were available during GeForce Now’s multi-year beta period.
      Polygon has reached out to Nvidia for more information.

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      2K Games pulls out of GeForce Now, too




      Latest major publisher to remove games from streaming service






      For Nvidia’s GeForce Now, the hits keep on coming. Or rather, going.
      2K Games’ library is the latest tranche of AAA games to leave the fledgling stream-anywhere service. Nvidia announced 2K’s departure, effective immediately, earlier on Friday afternoon. “We are working with 2K Games to re-enable their games in the future,” the company said.
      The loss of games such as Borderlands 3, Civilization 6, and three NBA 2K titles follows the very visible departures of Activision Blizzard and Bethesda Softworks in February, which took about two dozen high-profile games off the PC gaming service. Games from publishers such as Capcom, Rockstar Games, and Square Enix have also left GeForce Now, despite being available during a beta period that ended in early February.
      Reached by Polygon, an Nvidia representative referred readers back to a Feb. 20 blog postacknowledging publishers’ control over the service’s content, while asserting that they “will bring games back as they continue to realize GeForce Now’s value.”
      A representative for 2K Games did not return a message before publication time.
      GeForce Now is a service whereby PC gamers may stream games from the cloud to computers, Android tablets or smartphones, or Nvidia’s Shield TV or Shield Portable devices. Users may only stream games they already own on another digital platform, such as Steam, Ubisoft’s uPlay, or the Epic Games Store.
      GeForce Now had been in beta since 2015, starting with support for the company’s Shield devices, before including PC platforms in 2017. The service left beta on Feb. 4.
      Soon after, Activision Blizzard asked for its games to be removed; Bloomberg attributed the takedown to the publisher’s desire for a formal commercial agreement with Nvidia regarding the games’ presence on GeForce Now. The same lack of a commercial agreement is believed to be behind Bethesda Softworks removing all but one of its supported titles from a library that numbered about 80 at launch.
      GeForce Now offers free one-hour trial sessions to anyone, or a membership (with unlimited game time) that is free for 90 days, followed by $4.99 per month for the next nine months.
      Earlier this week, Hinterland Studio founder Raphael van Lierop said that Nvidia never asked the developer’s permission to include The Long Dark in GeForce Now, and as such he had asked for it to be removed. “Please take your complaints to them, not us,” van Lieroptweeted on Sunday. “Devs should control where their games exist.”

     

     

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