What just happened? Nvidia GeForce Now is shaping up to be a decent way for hopping onto the cloud gaming bandwagon, but the service recently took a hit from publisher Activision Blizzard, who've decided to remove their entire catalog of Battle.net games from GeForce Now's content library.
The term 'cloud gaming wars' likes to be thrown around quite a bit, and it seems Nvidia has had the first casualty on its hands after Activision Blizzard decided to pull down its entire catalog of games including Overwatch, WoW and the Call of Duty franchise from GeForce Now.
As noted earlier, the service was launched with several lucrative features, including a free tier option and the ability to let users play their existing library of games, as long as they could prove title(s) ownership. However, there's another string attached to the business side of things that dictates content availability, requiring a publisher/developer's consent for making their games playable on GeForce Now.
Activision Blizzard was one such publisher that requested its games to be removed from GeForce Now, which means players who even own a copy of their titles won't be able to use GeForce Now to play/stream it.
The decision prompted the following response from Nvidia:
As we take GeForce NOW to the next step in its evolution, we’ve worked with publishers to onboard a robust catalog of your PC games.
This means continually adding new games, and on occasion, having to remove games – similar to other digital service providers.
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.
In addition to the hundreds of games currently supported, we have over 1,500 games that developers have asked to be on-boarded to the service. Look for weekly updates as to new games we are adding.
It seems unlikely that Activision Blizzard will reverse their decision since the publisher recently entered into a multi-year agreement with Google over multiple gaming fronts. The strategic partnership will not only put YouTube as Activision Blizzard's exclusive esports streaming platform but the latter will also use Google's cloud services to power 'new player experiences' which, as noted earlier, could potentially mean Google Stadia getting a much-needed boost from Battle.net's games catalog.