Epic Games and Fortnite back Nvidia GeForce Now as Tim Sweeney puts Apple and Google on notice

    
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Over the last few weeks, we’ve all been watching as one publisher after another, from Blizzard to Bethsoft, yanked its games off of Nvidia’s GeForce Now’s cloud streaming platform, which essentially allows gamers to use their Steam and Epic games on Nvidia’s platform. Now Epic Games is swooping in to save the day – or at least to pick a side in the approaching war.

“Epic is wholeheartedly supporting NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW service with Fortnite and with Epic Games Store titles that choose to participate (including exclusives), and we’ll be improving the integration over time,” Epic’s Tim Sweeney announced on Twitter this past weekend. “It’s the most developer-friendly and publisher-friendly of the major streaming services, with zero tax on game revenue. Game companies who want to move the game industry towards a healthier state for everyone should be supporting this kind of service!”

Sweeney goes on to argue that cloud streaming services like Nvidia’s are “key players in ending the iOS and Google Play payment monopolies and their 30% taxes.” He expressly attacks iOS’ policy of refusing equivalent cloud services as “megalomaniacal.”

“Just waiting till later this year when Google is lobbying against Apple for blocking Stadia from iOS, while Google blocks GeForce NOW, xCloud, and Fortnite from Google Play, and this whole rotten structure begins collapsing in on itself.”

Source: Twitter via Gamasutra

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Mewmew
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Mewmew

I guess Indie Devs can’t really afford to take the chance to take a stand against the companies they make what little money they earn through and I should be more supportive of this kind of thing from Tim Sweeney, but it’s difficult to get behind a multiple billionaire whining about fees.

I get that having a big swinging sausage like Fortnite is what lets him be able to take a stand that seems to matter, and yet I hate hearing billionaires whine about paying fees so much that it’s really difficult to back him.

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Anton Mochalin

So I guess if some billionaire says “I think two times two is four” it will become really hard for you to multiply numbers.

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Anton Mochalin

I wish both Stadia and GeForce Now as much success as possible but right now NVidia’s service seems to be much better value for the money. I really hope NVidia stays in this market for a long time as they seem to understand what players want and that would set the bar for Stadia and others.

And even though I don’t buy from EGS because I’m a longtime Steam fan (but I play Fortnite from time to time) I think that move on Epic’s side is positive for the industry.

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Pulsar

Saying “I don’t buy from EGS because I’m a longtime Steam fan” is like saying “I don’t buy from Target because I’m a longtime Walmart fan”. Imagine refusing to buy your groceries from another store because you love Walmart and think Walmart loves you back.

Mind-fucking-boggling.

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Anton Mochalin

Yes I’m a Steam fan, I can for example spend an evening just reading user reviews for the games I played and comparing my experience with what other players say. Or I could browse the games of some particular genre (e.g. MMORPGs) to see which of them have the highest percentage of positive reviews. Or I could check out which new games some curator has just reviewed. Or which games my friends have played the most. Steam is a huge community with immense amount of info on games. For those who are into games industry related “infotainment”like me it provides a lot of fun without paying a cent.

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Arktouros

Again, the Epic Game Store is one rich guy’s (Tim Sweeney) rage project at what he seeks as the “thieves” running the digital distribution platforms.

Every time he speaks on this topic you see his anger seeping through every word.

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zaber

I don’t trust Tim Sweeney always PR event with him to make EGS even better then it is.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

This all boils down to two arguments. The first being that GeForce Now is basically an equipment rental service; and as such is no different than renting a Blu Ray player to watch movies at home. The other being that game streaming represents a new media form; and as such GFN is wildly trampling all over copyright law.

The issue for the consumer here is that this battle has already been fought; and if you’re on the side of “GFN is no different than an equipment rental” you lost that fight over a decade ago. The precedent that the games industry is using is streaming video: it doesn’t matter if you bought a movie on VHS, DVD or Blu Ray, you still have to purchase your streaming copy, or subscribe to a streaming service that pays for content and/or shares revenue (like Netflix or Amazon Prime). Additionally, owning a streaming license for a movie or TV show on Google Play or iTunes doesn’t give you a license to access that content on a different service such as Netflix without having to pay for it there as well.

Furthermore, obtaining permission, and paying the rights holders for game streaming itself goes back over two decades to the very first game streaming services of the 1990s (Sega Channel anyone?). Companies that have pulled their games off GFN literally have a precedent to fall back on: services like OnLive and Sega Channel paid them for their games/shared revenue, even if the customer already owned the game elsewhere, why the hell should Nvidia not have to?

Now I’m sure that many of you will want to point various minor differences in the examples from GFN, and how that makes everything totally different in this specific case of GeForce Now, but I don’t care: it’s a moot point. This “battle” is already lost, because Nvidia isn’t going to fight any of these companies for the right to stream games without their permission. Even if they wanted the fight -and they really don’t- Nvidia can’t win because they need these companies in order to continue selling GeForce graphics cards. If Nvidia tries to go to court over this, they lose even if they win -and the odds of that are astronomically small- because if Triple A publishers are forced to allow previously purchased games to be available on GFN they’ll just stop officially supporting Nvidia GPUs, which will cripple Nvidia’s consumer graphics sales.

Finally, I’m not saying that I’m in support of one side or another: as far as I’m concerned there has to be the possibility of an actual conflict in order to pick sides; and this “fight” was finished long before I even knew that there could have been one. I’m just saying that this is the way the parties involved see it, and that is all there is to it.

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Robert Mann

0% ‘tax’ and 0% profit.

Sweeney is the same old person talking out his behind and saying things to try to sound like some person in it for others. It never added up as anything but a con, it still doesn’t.

He’s only trying to run that good old politics game, and more to pity there are still so many who fall for that.

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agemyth 😩

I feel like what his statement is doing more than anything else is making people aware that GFN works with games you own on the Epic Games Store (aka all those games you got for free that you probably haven’t played). The conversation as I have heard it has almost exclusively talked about it streaming Steam games and other non-specific stores. Poor EGS :P

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

Actually, there’s only about 8 to 10 games on EGS that work with GFN right now. That number is not counting Ubisoft games, because those games are launched from the Uplay launcher anyway. The fact is that most of the games on EGS haven’t even had to deal with the GFN situation; and I suspect the number of companies selling through EGS that are actually on board with GFN is considerably less than what Tim Sweeney believes it to be.

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Robert Mann

I don’t believe it is anything but a shallow P.R. attempt. “Look at me and these people using a model I can relate against other digital stores. We’re great, those other stores are baddy badmittens!”

Meanwhile, work on the EGS continues to be lackluster, and security concerns remain prominent.

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TJ French

Does Nvidia understand that this is another reason NOT to use their service? It’s not helpful for them. I feel like they are a little confused right now.

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Natalyia

It was all fun and games until Nvidia wanted to sell it as a service. If it just ran the game locally on your PC and streamed it to your phone, then that’s one thing. But Nvidia is running the game on servers they own, at your behest.

I am not a lawyer, so I don’t know if that’s technically legal or not – but given the licensing agreements on modern games? That they just thought “yeah, we’ll just launch with it and assume it’ll all be fine.” seems an act of corporate hubris, or at least madness. :)

The idea that all these other companies with their own subscription and (possibly) streaming services wouldn’t object to this seems completely obvious to me, and that they didn’t proactively go to everyone involved and dot the i’s and cross the t’s with the major publishers beforehand is unconscionable.

“Hey, Publisher X – we’re going live with GeForce Now, and people love using your games in the beta. Here’s our plans for the launch. If you have any questions, or any information you’d like us to include with the launch, our contact for co-marketing is…” This isn’t hard. And would have let them taken the temperature of the room, so to speak.

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agemyth 😩

Tim Sweeney is not your friend. He wants your money just like all the people/companies he tweets about not being cool like him and his Fortnite. Also his opinion is obviously tainted by the fact that Epic and Nvidia do a lot of business with each other.

This matter is not as simple as “I bought game X on Steam, so I should be allowed to stream it from any random device or virtual device on the planet”. Nvidia is making a mess of their GFNow launch by not doing the bare minimum work that should be expected and asking permission to allow games on their service.

They are making money off of other peoples games without their permission and without any expectation of sharing any profits. Blindsiding developers and publishers by launching the paid service version of GFNow is basically a strong-arm tactic that makes anyone who doesn’t agree or simply wants a moment to discuss terms of the GFNow service look like a “greedy dev”. Meanwhile, Nvidia is making money off other people’s hard work and gets to look like the good guys.

Developers and publishers are still trying to figure out how the business behind game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, cloud gaming platforms like Stadia, and virtual machine cloud gaming services like Geforce Now should work. Nvidia should not have turned Geforce Now into a paid service out of the blue without having consulted its partners that they are profiting from.

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Greaterdivinity

Also his opinion is obviously tainted by the fact that Epic and Nvidia do a lot of business with each other.

Nvidia works with every major publisher, especially those that make engines they license out.

If anything, this is him taking a very pro-consumer stance in light of a ton of publishers reasonably pulling their games off because they didn’t have approval. This is very in-line with comments.

They are making money off of other peoples games without their permission and without any expectation of sharing any profits.

No, they aren’t. Right now it’s completely free so they’re literally making nothing. When they start charging, those payments cover operational costs – cloud computers and the various costs with them (electricity, cooling, network etc.), software development costs etc. etc.

It’s actually surprising how little they’re charging given that they’re letting you play stuff you already own.

Meanwhile, Nvidia is making money off other people’s hard work and gets to look like the good guys.

Honestly, since this was launched it’s done nothing of the sort. They’re not making any money, at least not yet, and they’ve eaten one big black eye after another as major publishers and developers remove their games. They’re not really scoring points with anyone by looking incompetent.

He wants your money just like all the people/companies he tweets about not being cool like him and his Fortnite.

You could say this about pretty much every company out there, dude. We live in a capitalistic society, all companies are necessarily self interested. They largely have to be to compete.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

The fact that GeForce Now is launching with a free trial -thus not making money at this very second- doesn’t change the fact that they are going to be making money off “some else’s hard work”. I have no issue with any other points you bring up, but that’s splitting hairs.

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agemyth 😩

Nvidia works with every major publisher, especially those that make engines they license out.

If anything, this is him taking a very pro-consumer stance in light of a ton of publishers reasonably pulling their games off because they didn’t have approval. This is very in-line with comments.

Due to the conflict of interest anything positive Sweeney says about Nvidia is for his own benefit before consumers. I think most consumers (myself included) would agree the ideal way for this kind of service to work would be to just include all the games we already own.

No, they aren’t. Right now it’s completely free so they’re literally making nothing. When they start charging, those payments cover operational costs – cloud computers and the various costs with them (electricity, cooling, network etc.), software development costs etc. etc.

It’s actually surprising how little they’re charging given that they’re letting you play stuff you already own.

The GeForce Now “Founders” membership costs $5 a month. If you mean that technically nobody is being charged yet because of the 90 day trial period, I consider that not really important to the issue. You give them your payment info under the agreement that you will be charged at the end of the trial. It is a paid service now. The transition from free experimental limited tech test to paid service is what made devs/publishers uncomfortable with the arrangement and it seems like none of Nvidias partners were told of the change ahead of time.

It is pretty standard business practice for companies with billions of dollars burning a hole in their pockets to introduce new services like this competitive price points even if it means operating at a loss. Nobody is getting one over on Nvidia by using their service for the free 90-day window or the $5/month after trial since they are primarily interested in making people aware of the service right now.

You could say this about pretty much every company out there, dude. We live in a capitalistic society, all companies are necessarily self interested. They largely have to be to compete.

I feel like you are restating what I said in what you quoted, but maybe I wasn’t clear enough in the way I said it. Yes, Tim Sweeney is a participator in the capitalist economy as are his partners and his competition.

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memitim

This matter is not as simple as “I bought game X on Steam, so I should be allowed to stream it from any random device or virtual device on the planet”

In the legal and corporate sense you are of course correct, but I imagine most gamers couldn’t care less what the legalities and ins and outs of it are, they paid their money (to the dev/publisher) and just want to play their game, it’s not like Nvidia is giving other peoples games away for free so yeah, they look like greedy devs/publishers to me. Not that I’d ever let my PC get so out of date I’d need to “rent” hardware but it sure smells like sour grapes from where I’m standing.

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Tanek

I must be missing something here because the situation with games being “pulled” form GeForce Now does not make a whole lot of sense to me.

Is it not the case that games played on the service had to be purchased normally beforehand? So Blizzard, Bethesda, etc already got the sale?
And its it not the case that a service like this might open up such games to people who did not have computers capable of playing them before? Thereby widening the potential market for said games?

If so, something like GeForce Now seems like it would add value to those games without Blizzard or Bethesda needing to do anything. Good deal for them!

But since all this mess is going on, what am I missing? Other than that companies are run by people and people don’t make sense.

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cursedseishi

Yep, the games played through the GeForce Now platform have to be from other services.

It’s a licensing issue though. And the biggest issue for the people pulling out from GeForce Now is they aren’t getting more money for it. People have to subscribe for extended access and the like, and Activision/Bethesda/Whoever else aren’t getting paid.

I don’t know the exact gritty detail, but though the games are already bought and owned from, say, Steam… That license is technically provided for the sole use through Steam as a platform. GeForce Now is a separate platform that doesn’t technically have rights to said license, but it all gets a bit messy.

Activision, for instance, claimed they were in support of it as a free service (the beta), and withdrew once money started coming into the platform… If I remember correctly.

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Sorenthaz

Chances are they just want to do their own streaming services.

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agemyth 😩

Nvidia is trying to make money by inserting themselves in the middle of developers and consumers without discussing terms or asking permission first. The bare minimum they should have done was ask permission.

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Tanek

So if I run a service that rents computers to people who want to play PC games, I have to ask the game developers permission? I am obviously still missing something in the process here.

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rosieposie

Just because you paid $60 to buy a game, that doesn’t give you the right to decide how and what platform you want to play it, I mean, what is this madness. How are these poor developers supposed to double-dip into the purchase you’ve already made?