GeForce NOW lets game publishers opt-in, Guild Wars 2 and Albion Online decide to opt-out

    
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The stumble-stepped release of Nvidia’s cloud-based games service GeForce NOW is having another wobbling point. Nvidia has elected to let game developers and publishers opt-in to the service.

While the announcement post touts over 200 publishers and over 2,000 games confirmed for its catalog like Apex Legends, Fortnite, and Terraria, there are a number of games that have elected to opt-out and will be removed from the service’s library, including Guild Wars 2 and Albion Online among them — a move that Nvidia’s blog explains as a result of publishers “still figuring out their cloud strategies.”

The opt-in move is already making an impact. One post on the GW2 subreddit seems to encapsulate the feeling of many who like the GeForce NOW service: “I kinda hope it’s just a short term thing, since it was fun to be able to take the game with me and [not] lose much or even anything in the quality of graphics shown,” reads the post. This disappointment was a sentiment echoed by the blogging community as well during the service’s first problems.

As for those problems, readers will recall that Activision-Blizzard began pulling its titles as a result of what Nvidia called “a misunderstanding,” followed shortly after by Bethesda Softworks. These moves occurred during what Nvidia called the service’s “trial period,” which apparently is now ending with this new opt-in future.

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David Goodman

I’ve had mixed success with the service. I installed it and played briefly – and for a time it was great! Ultra-quality graphics at my fingertips. I was on the free plan because I wasn’t going to commit to anything without trying it out, but even the free restrictions – having to log out and back in every hour – honestly wasn’t that big of a deal with me. (and if it became a big deal, I’d subscribe if it was worth it.)

For a week or two, it was pretty amazing. But, suddenly, I started having problems with the same games I had been playing stably; i would get connection issues and connectivity problems, getting disconnected frequently from the service, and so on.

Granted, I am using Comcast, so I expect a level of bull with any connection – but the situation did not resolve itself over time. I did ample testing (I’m in an upper level tech support position, so I know how to do basic connectivity tests, and I won’t bore you all with the details) and, to the best of my knowledge, the issue wasn’t with Comcast (a surprise to me) or my connection TO the servers. I dunno. It wasn’t worth the time it would take to troubleshoot it further.

Plus, I realized that running at Ultra put TOO MANY particle effects in front of my eyes and it’s actually harder to play the game with literally everything exploding in front of you in a shower of sparks/fire/blood.

At any rate, i eventually un-installed it with a sigh. I loved the idea and still hope it works out for them.

I wish they could get more buy-in from publishers. But, speculation from other commentators is probably correct: The publishes want to control all distribution and play methods for their games. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t cost them anything in sales, they can’t *control* it. It’s psychological – they want THEIR logos in front of you at start-up, so that you start seeing yourself as being part of their ‘family’ / group. (instead of just a wallet with eyes). They want your trust, the way that a parasite wants a fat dog.

Any moment you have that doesn’t have an EA/Bethesda/Acti-Blizz logo in front of them is a moment where you might think that you don’t owe them any loyalty and can just buy any other game you might want.

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Ola Olu

I really don’t think it is about logo or branding or even store-front. This is because, when you think about it, these Dev companies have to pay Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony licence money to put their games on the respective consoles of those console companies. If we see Nvidia from the perspective of a console manufacturer, all of sudden, this whole shindig doesn’t make any sense apart from the possible point that, these Devs just need a proper dotted line licencing deal with rules and regulations as to how their property is to be handled on the platform and possibly, until Nvidia draws one up, very few companies are going to bite.

That or all the companies are waiting to see the install base after the first paid month just so they can see if it is worth investing into it and promoting that their games are “AVAILABLE ON GEFORCE NOW – RIGHT NOW”

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rafael12104

It is never a good sign when more and more choose to opt out.

What I don’t understand is, why not pay the publishers. Give them money for allowing Nvidia to provide the service. Yes, it would be costly, but future products would benefit greatly and there is always an opportunity to generate more income with various subscription services.

Think about the possibilities. Special promos and partnerships with Studios to provide exclusive access (for a price) of new and up and coming games. Special access to bundles including entire Anthologies of games (for a price). Features that push graphics cards etc. etc. etc.

There is a gold mine there. Nvidia needs to just swallow some of the costs up front. It will pay for itself later!

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iicycube

Its all about marketing and profit, NVidia knew that “mining era” already long gone slow and even coming with those high end graphic cards every card doesnt do good in the industry of gaming world (Compare to history ago)
Mobile world still leading as every years profits

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Natalyia

I still don’t get how anyone at NVidia corporate could have just thought “Yeah, all those companies will be fine with us moving their games to the cloud without asking.”

It’s a great ability from the player’s perspective, but since when has any company (including NVidia) just thought “Oh yeah, I’ll leverage other company’s games to promote my new service” was going to be smooth sailing.

That they didn’t go to all the major publishers *in advance* and figure out what the likely response was going to be – even if they weren’t going to swing some sort of deal with them – is more than a little boggling.

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Tanek

While Nvidia definitely needed more communication with the game publishers before making a move, I’m still trying to see the downside for some of these games.

Cloud service gaming until now has, for the most part, seemed like a disaster. We may be moving into a time when it is getting better, but even if it works well, it has to be a pretty big investment to maintain.

If I remember correctly, GeForce NOW was not selling the games, just allowing users to access games that had already been purchased. Unless a publisher already has a cloud service up or in the works, having someone else manage all that while you still get the sales (and possibly more sales since people are not as constrained by their own hardware) could be a win-win.

Then again, given how developers/publishers these days all seem to want to run their own crappy store platforms, they probably want their own crappy cloud service games, too. :P

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rafael12104

The down side is they, the publishers, want to control the cloud. They want to provide the service. They don’t want competitors using this service.

It is a another profit center that they don’t want to share with Nvidia unless Nvidia pays them for access.

It is as simple as that.

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Jeremy Barnes

yea, I can see albion online launching their cloud service any day now.

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Natalyia

They certainly want to decide if they want their own crappy cloud service games before they let Nvidia do it for them.

I agree that for a lot of games, I don’t see much downside for publishers. Unless there’s some wacky legal or customer-support burden they think it’s going to impose on them, which you can never rule out really.

Which is why you ask first – so the publishers have time to get legal to vet things, and corporate to figure out it it’s likely to cost them or make them money or they just don’t care. Some of them are going to opt out just out of a “You did what without asking? No, just no.” reaction.

If GW2 for example was doing a mobile version, you could see NCSoft not wanting the Nvidia service to compete with it. It might even not be “crappy”, BDO mobile, for example, is apparently pretty good.

But the “we’ll just assume everyone’s going to be OK with this” route was always going to be doomed. Even a cursory “hey, let’s ask around the office” survey would have surely told them that “well, some companies are going to be unhappy.”

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Jeremy Barnes

Money. Anything that makes money means you must give me money.

There is no calculation of, “This doesn’t cost us anything and increases sales”, it’s “Hey, nvidia is making money for obviously we need a cut of that and to have our sales increased”

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Arktouros

Man I’m more confused why companies would pull said games from the service.

Like nVidia doesn’t get the sales for the games. It’s not like you buy a GW2 account from them and then play the GW2 game through them. You have to buy/own the game first, and then if you have it you can use it on the service.

So the companies don’t really lose anything here, but instead have a lot to gain as more people might check out more games available on this particular service.

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EmberStar

Because (in general) they probably think there’s still a gold rush going on. They want to put up their own service. Preferably one that they can leverage to sell customers a game they’ve already paid for. Again. That’s the motivation for some (Bethesda – selling you Skyrim for the sixteenth time. It just works.)

For others I think it’s just that they don’t want to. Maybe they’re overly cautious, maybe they don’t quite “get” the legalities and would rather not bother. Maybe they already resent that a player can buy a game on Steam and install it more than once without paying for it.

I don’t really get it either – NVidia isn’t doing something like XBox Games Pass where you pay them a fee and can access all the compatible games. As I understand it, you’re using your existing Steam (or whatever) account to install a copy of a game that you purchased the right to use on an NVidia virtual machine and play it remotely.

But then, some publishers have the rather insane notion that every single pirated copy of a game is a lost sale. Nevermind that many of the people doing it don’t have the money and simply wouldn’t play the game at all. (Or it’s not available in their region or censored all to heck.) It’s possible that they view this kind of streaming as “like” piracy… somehow.

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Jeremy Barnes

It’s about having ‘more’. All possible and potential revenue must be acquired at all costs.

Rule of Acquisition #8218172728