Nvidia might have to rebrand GeForce Now as GeForce Later, because the company said Friday that 2K Games asked to have its titles removed from the streaming platform, making it the latest addition to the list of publishers avoiding the service.
GeForce Now officially exited beta on February 4. Nvidia said it supported over 1,000 titles at launch, but it didn't take long for publishers to pull their games from the service. The following companies have had their titles removed from GeForce Now:
- Electronic Arts
- Rockstar Games
- Square Enix
- Activision Blizzard
- Bethesda Softworks
Nvidia has repeatedly said it's working with publishers to bring them back to GeForce Now. 2K Games was no different--an Nvidia employee said that the company is "working with 2K Games to re-enable their games in the future."
That doesn't help people who've already signed up for GeForce Now, however, or purchased games they can't actually play without the service. At this point it's hard not to wonder if that money will go to waste because of disputes with publishers.
So the upside of this service for publishers is the sale of games to an audience that wouldn't have the option or desire to purchase them otherwise. The upside to nVidia is they make money from the service (on their tiered premium service), and introduce an audience to PC gaming with the potential that they may be enticed to invest in a capable PC gaming platform. This even has potential to help AMD with hardware sales.
I don't see the downside to publishers, or gamers. The hardware issues are eliminated by the games playing on remote hardware that's been configured to play these games. The user doesn't have to worry about Windows Updates, drivers, hardware incompatibilities. It should result in fewer (none) support tickets to the publisher. I presume that nVidia would be unlikely to release zero-day access to new titles, giving them time to iron out the bugs with their service before making it available to the public.
Basically, it's because the game studios care about money, screwing as much out of the users as they can...and not about ease-of-use or how much better they can make someone's life.
Well I think the service allows publishers to "double dip" so to speak. If you own the latest COD on your PlayBoxStationii, but you've heard about how much better it is on PC, what is the likelihood that you are going to dump a large sum of money (probably more than your console is worth) to try it on the PC? Therefore you have your one copy for the platform you have with no incentive to purchase a PC version. However if you can stream it and the service does a good job of simulating the PC experience (albeit with some added latency) on your cheap OEM HP/Dell/Acer/whatever you have, then you might be tempted to get that additional copy of COD. So Activision gets it's sale that it wouldn't have otherwise gotten.
As to the publishers having plans of providing a competing service to GeForce Now, that seems dubious. First off the cost of admission (the hardware install and upkeep) is pretty high. nVidia has some pretty deep pockets and gets it's GPUs at cost. They already have a large install base, and they assume the cost of configuration and solving any hardware / software issues that arise. Also the publisher most likely has no responsibilities to deal with support on titles that aren't run on a local machine to the end user, they might have to work with nVidia, but it's much easier working with a software/hardware engineer than it would be dealing with a PC plebe, and they only have to resolve the issue once, not with thousands of end users.
All around it seems like a win for the publishers. They get to sell PC versions of their games they wouldn't have otherwise sold and they don't have to assume any of the responsibility. The upside for nVidia is they charge for their top tiered service and make a few dollars. The upside for the industry is maybe we attract a few more console gamers to jump to a PC platform which is good for nVidia/AMD/Intel/Samsung/WD/Seagate/yadda/yadda. The upside for us (the consumer) is we get another choice in the way we play our games. nVidia arguably has the most experience with this type of service as GameStream was the warm up for this service. They've already done most of the heavy lifting for this type of thing.