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News Business Nvidia’s GeForce Now is losing all Activision Blizzard games, a bad sign for cloud gaming

DanielsM

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I'm completely shocked.


The only thing (maybe) you can do is buy a real Virtual Desktop service, not that I suggest you subscribe to one - not for gaming. Don't worry guys that $5 thing isn't going to last forever either.


Nvidia’s GeForce Now feels like one of the very best ways to get a free taste of cloud gaming, but it’s got a gigantic catch — it lets you play PC games you already own only if the game publisher allows it. Today, Nvidia is revealing that Activision Blizzard is no longer playing ball, pulling down its catalog of games including Overwatch, WoW, and the Call of Duty series. That means one of the service’s biggest publishers, as well as its Battle.net catalog of games, will no longer be available just a week after the service’s formal launch — a launch that was already missing many games from Capcom, EA, Konami, Remedy, Rockstar and Square Enix, all of which seemed to have pulled out after Nvidia’s beta period ended.

Nvidia wouldn’t tell us why this is happening now, but it’s strange, because Nvidia previously told us it was contacting every publisher ahead of launch to make sure they were OK with their games staying available with the service. Did Activision Blizzard reneg on a deal, or did Nvidia fail to get permission? We’re waiting to hear back on that from Nvidia; Activision Blizzard didn’t respond to a request for comment.
GeForce Now was supposed to be win-win-win. And it’s frustrating, because the whole premise of Nvidia’s GeForce Now service is theoretically win-win-win: you get to take your existing game library anywhere, game publishers get the same money and much the same relationship with the customer (who’s buying those games from the same Steam, Epic, UPlay and Battle.net stores), and Nvidia gets to rent out access to a computer that simply lives in the cloud instead of on your desk at home.

In a statement, Nvidia says it hopes to work with Activision Blizzard to bring the games back, but the company confirmed to us that things are pretty cut-and-dried for now — you shouldn’t expect them to magically reappear after a few days (or even a few weeks). Nvidia also declined to tell us whether it’d be open to sharing a slice of its subscription fees with publishers, citing the quiet period before its earnings.
It’s true that Blizzard, at least, has an EULA that specifically prevents users from playing a game on cloud gaming services, but that doesn’t seem to explain this move. Activision’s EULA doesn’t contain anything of the sort, and again, Activision Blizzard didn’t seem to have any problem with it during the GeForce Now beta.

Regardless of the reasons, it’s worrying for those of us who are excited by cloud gaming’s potential to see a service like this hobbled because one party, or the other, didn’t want to work out a deal. It makes me wonder if we should expect nasty carriage negotiations to play out regularly in gaming like they already do in the pay TV world, holding our favorite programs hostage until one party or the other provides a slightly bigger piece of the action. We recently saw that streaming set-top-boxes like the Roku aren’t immune to those annoyances — now that the precedent has been set, why should games be any different?
 
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DanielsM

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Heh, just signed up so I didn't have to bring my gaming computer around to LAN Overwatch and just use my Surface Go. What bullshit.

The large publishers already have their own storefronts, services, subscription... and most of them have already said they are working on their own streaming implementation. The publishers control the board, always have.

You can either stream the game yourself, or you could rent a Virtual Desktop. Not sure if there is an easy way a check could be made to see if its a VM or not.

 
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closer013

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The large publishers already have their own storefronts, services, subscription... and most of them have already said they are working on their own streaming implementation. The publishers control the board, always have.

You can either stream the game yourself, or you could rent a Virtual Desktop. Not sure if there is an easy way a check could be made to see if its a VM or not.
Oh wow, didn't know Blizzard was planning to do it's own streaming solution. Source please?
 

DanielsM

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Oh wow, didn't know Blizzard was planning to do it's own streaming solution. Source please?

All the large publishers have announced some type of plans.


They haven't announced individual products yet, imagine you will see all the large pubs rolling out their own services, I think they have all basically said they are.

I have no idea why, but....

Everyone is going to want their cut.
 
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baphomet

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Expect all the major stores to eventually pull their service from it.

Why give it away for free when they could be the ones charging to stream from their service.
 

Alexios

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I don't understand why they need a publisher's permission, they don't sell you their game, just let you install your own stuff on a remote PC basically. I hope they find a loophole otherwise pretty much everyone will pull out and/or won't even be asked to get onboard because the games are old or whatever making it very barebones.

What if Steam itself eventually wanted to offer this kind of service, let you download as well as stream the games you purchased there with a similar "this is your own remote pc" scheme, would deals have to be negotiated to enable it on a per game/publisher basis rather than simply offer it as a feature like their share play thing?

How does it even practically differ to those virtual dekstop services like Shadow, it seems like that's basically exactly what GeForce Now is but with only letting you install/play games from platforms like Steam and similar rather than have near full control of the whole OS and everything. Why's such a service A-OK but this not so?
 
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Dr.Morris79

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Load of shite. And if these publisher dung holes think i'll have five plus subs they wont get one, so sod em.
 

xrnzaaas

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It's going to end up the same as with current tv-movie streaming services. Everyone will want to have their streaming service and they will all expect you to pay for their sub.
 
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Panajev2001a

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Should just stream a desktop, you can then put whatever you like on it

Until games on PC gain some Windows entitlement that allows them to detect if they are being recorded and prevent you from streaming unless you are using their approved solution... sounds ridiculous? But is it that far fetched ;)?
 
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vkbest

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The good thing from Geforce Now is the worst thing too. You can play with your Steam library, that is good, but they can't guarantee that game listed will be available 1 or several months after.

For example, people bought and played Dead or Alive 6 on February on this service, but was deleted on March.

For me, im a console gamer, so this service would be attractive for games I can't play on my old laptop, but buy a game I'm not sure if I could play after...
 
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Gamezone

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This is so stupid, because I can already use third party apps like Moonlight, Parsec and Steam remote play to turn my own computer into a cloud computer, and there's nothing these publishers can do about that. You can also rent super powered desktops running Windows 10 trough the cloud, which will let you run your entire library trough the cloud, and my guess is that publushers can't do anything about that as well.
 
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dDoc

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it’s worrying for those of us who are excited by cloud gaming’s potential

What potential goes beyond owning the stuff you buy? Not being entirely dependent on internet connection/speeds? Screw yourself cloud gaming
 

DanielsM

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This is so stupid, because I can already use third party apps like Moonlight, Parsec and Steam remote play to turn my own computer into a cloud computer, and there's nothing these publishers can do about that. You can also rent super powered desktops running Windows 10 trough the cloud, which will let you run your entire library trough the cloud, and my guess is that publushers can't do anything about that as well.

If they can detect it in theory they could, ban hammer. My guess is they have a problem with the provider getting paid for it and actually acting as a go between for something they will be providing in the future. It might be harder to detect on a true virtual desktop, but here Nvidia is actually loading everything up to be ran, not the end user like in a VD situation.

I don't understand why they need a publisher's permission, they don't sell you their game, just let you install your own stuff on a remote PC basically. I hope they find a loophole otherwise pretty much everyone will pull out and/or won't even be asked to get onboard because the games are old or whatever making it very barebones.

What if Steam itself eventually wanted to offer this kind of service, let you download as well as stream the games you purchased there with a similar "this is your own remote pc" scheme, would deals have to be negotiated to enable it on a per game/publisher basis rather than simply offer it as a feature like their share play thing?

How does it even practically differ to those virtual dekstop services like Shadow, it seems like that's basically exactly what GeForce Now is but with only letting you install/play games from platforms like Steam and similar rather than have near full control of the whole OS and everything. Why's such a service A-OK but this not so?

But Nvidia didn't pay for the game, its being ran by Nvidia.

VDs could still be an issue but with Shadow you do all the loading, but I still don't see why they couldn't send a take down notice... depending on the user agreement.
 
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Polelock

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I just use Parsec. It's not perfect but I can play with minimal lag without issue on my home pc.
 

meirl

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Huh? Bad sign? That’s actually a good sign. This means that blizzard is planning to open their own streaming service.
 

The_Mike

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it’s worrying for those of us who are excited by cloud gaming’s potential

In the same boat. How can cloud gaming with input lag excite anyone
?

Isnt cloud gaming also pretty bad for people with a limit on how much they may download each month?
 

wolffy71

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Who knows how this is gonna play out. Will people subscribe to EA to play their games? Maybe but it would have to be cheap. Then again some gamer will only play a few games a year, maybe theres COD gamers who would pay because that's all they play?

I also think we haven't seen how this is gonna play out yet. What is G Force, is it a platform, is it a device, is it some new thing. On one hand a musician wouldn't want you buying music on iTunes then streaming it over Spotify. But on the other hand a musician cant say what device I stream spotify on really. Could they say, yeah its cool on your pc but don't stream it to an Alexa speaker? Is Gforce an Alexa speaker or spotify.

The games do currently say in the terms that they cant be streamed as part of a service. aybe that just needs to be addressed.
 

mckmas8808

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Huh? Bad sign? That’s actually a good sign. This means that blizzard is planning to open their own streaming service.

HOORAY for needing to sign up to 7 different video game cloud gaming services?
 
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Gamezone

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If they can detect it in theory they could, ban hammer. My guess is they have a problem with the provider getting paid for it and actually acting as a go between for something they will be providing in the future. It might be harder to detect on a true virtual desktop, but here Nvidia is actually loading everything up to be ran, not the end user like in a VD situation.



But Nvidia didn't pay for the game, its being ran by Nvidia.

VDs could still be an issue but with Shadow you do all the loading, but I still don't see why they couldn't send a take down notice... depending on the user agreement.

Sure, but we have already paid for the games. This isn't really any different from going to a friends house to play with your personal Steam account.
 

Gamezone

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Huh? Bad sign? That’s actually a good sign. This means that blizzard is planning to open their own streaming service.

Yeah, and so is Square Enix, EA, Capcom, Steam, and so on. You want to play your entire Steam library? Enjoy 7 different clients and subscriptions.
 
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SMTFrEak

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What's really the meaning for cloud gaming? Just so you could enjoy the game on your potato pc? well, buckle up and build a gaming rig and steam everything.
 

dDoc

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So many downsides to game streaming:

1. Input lag
2. ISP bandwidth limits
3. Non-ownership of the games
4. Sub to different clients/launchers/publishers
5. It can all be taken away at the press of a button

So no 1 might be alleviated eventually with 5G but what about caps and the other points? Obvs pubs/companies are rearing to go all subathon in the never ending pursuit to pinch every last possible penny...
 
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NickFire

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And THIS is one of the biggest problems with a Cloud only gaming future.
I'm not sure how anyone buys into the notion that streaming will end up being good for consumers. At this point the consensus should always be "what is the catch." Maybe MS will end up the exception by making it an option, but once the numbers grow large enough I have no doubt the price jacks up to the moon. No one is creating these systems for any reason other than profit and control and more profit due to control.
 
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TwiztidElf

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Can someone explain this to me like I'm 5?

To me it sounds like ActiBlizz is stopping it's own customers from playing the games that they have bought and own just because ActiBlizz don't like the delivery method?
If I'm right, so much for customer service, choice and options eh?
Sounds very anti-consumer behavior.
ActiBlizz though - why be surprised I guess? (shrug)
 
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Quezacolt

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Can someone explain this to me like I'm 5?

To me it sounds like ActiBlizz is stopping it's own customers from playing the games that they have bought and own just because ActiBlizz don't like the delivery method?
If I'm right, so much for customer choice and options eh?
It's simple. Lots of publishers want to create their own streaming services, but if you can stream any pc game using just nvidia's service, these other companies wont make any money from it.
 
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Bryank75

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Game streaming has only downsides for gamers... if you're looking forward to it, that's like looking forward to DRM, always online, microtransactions and the loss of ownership etc.

You're basically bending over for corporations to exploit you.
 

NickFire

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But haven't you already actually bought the game?
Nope. It sure as heck seems that way when we pay for them. But somehow when the audience was warring over console choices, warring over what counts as exclusive, and later on warring over even dumber stuff like politics in game design, we collectively bent over and let the pubs condition us to the phrase "license." So now the pubs will take the "high road" and pretend we are all a bunch of entitled brats if we expect to pay for a game only 1 or 2 times. And you know what, they will find lots of friendly quarters in the audience? Its absurd, but really what happened and will happen.
 

DanielsM

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Can someone explain this to me like I'm 5?

To me it sounds like ActiBlizz is stopping it's own customers from playing the games that they have bought and own just because ActiBlizz don't like the delivery method?
If I'm right, so much for customer service, choice and options eh?
Sounds very anti-consumer behavior.
ActiBlizz though - why be surprised I guess? (shrug)

Well, yes and no, technically they are stopping Nvidia from running a game they (Nvidia) don't own. The publishers control the board.

As far as anti-consumer, well, isn't all this DRM shit what everyone is asking for?

But haven't you already actually bought the game?

Define "bought", and who "bought" the game... Nvidia didn't... who is running the game... Nvidia.
 
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Alexios

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Define "bought", and who "bought" the game... Nvidia didn't... who is running the game... Nvidia.
You run the game. You bought the game on Steam or wherever, you run the game within your rights to install it and run it on any PC you want, be it your own, a friend's, a family member's, a PC you rented, an internet cafe (hey if you're not scared of your info getting stolen, whatever, it's on you), or any PC you have access to with whatever means the seller is never to be concerned with. You didn't buy it for a specific PC, you bought it for a specific Steam or Blizzard or other account. What's with all the corporate shilling attempting to justify it? Not that Nvidia's some poor underdog, but yeah.
 
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DanielsM

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You run the game. You bought the game on Steam, you run the game within your rights to install it and run it on any PC you want, be it your own, a friend's, a family member's, a pc you rented, an internet cafe, or a remote pc you have access to regardless of the hows and whys.

:messenger_tears_of_joy:

I take it you never heard of an end user agreement?


Also, I see a few things potentially with your comments.

- you didn't rent a personal computer, its a virtual machine, if you did... nobody would've known
- you didn't install it either

In this case, they withdraw nvidia's ability to install and run the game because they don't own it. If you subscribe to a virtual desktop service, I would say that is potentially in violation of the end user agreement, but I'm not sure how easy or hard it would be for them to figure it out.
 
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Alexios

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I did install the games when first running them on geforce now, logged in to my Steam account, got the progress bar and everything, saw it's downloading at like 60MB/s, have you actually used it? It's not Stadia-like or anything.

Perhaps it keeps that for future users to not go through the whole process again but so what, it's no different to someone coming on my PC, logging in with their account, and playing a game we both own that I had already installed without re-downloading it.

That agreement doesn't say anything about your games/accounts/licenses only working on specific computers they dictate, they only deal with your "account" rights and that's the account you accessed on the remote PC you paid (or didn't pay, given the free option) Nvidia to use. Try again? Did you read it or just assume it'd have something against such use? If it had something against such use, it would already limit the amount of installs or whatever you can do per game, so that you only use it on the one PC it was bought from or whatever. It doesn't. It does mention cloud computing, but that doesn't mean it's legally binding and if there's really ground for separation between any PC you access physically vs remotely, plenty companies have written bs in their agreements that courts have overruled, all we know is Nvidia can't bother fighting that and obv don't even want to fight publishers/developers hence they go after making deals per game. Other services like Shadow PC so far have not had trouble running Blizzard games and there are no instances of folks getting banned yet, if that's because it's too small a service for Blizzard to have noticed (though Linus has pimped it) or because they can't fight this by law remains to be seen. Edit: seems you can't actually have a conversation with people, only shill and quote things I've already read as per your (partial) quote. If company says so, it must be law! If not, we should make it law! Poor corps! What a bozo.
 
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DanielsM

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That doesn't say anything about your games/accounts/licenses only working on specific computers they dictate, they only deal with your "account" rights and that's the account you accessed on the remote PC you paid (or didn't pay, given the free option) Nvidia to use. Try again? Did you read it or just assume it'd have something against such use? If it had something against such use, it would already limit the amount of installs or whatever you can do per game, so that you only use it on the one PC it was bought from or whatever. It doesn't. It does mention cloud computing, but that doesn't mean it's legally applicable.

Good luck.

As used herein, the term “Platform” refers collectively, and at times individually, to (1) the Blizzard Battle.net App software, (2) the Blizzard Battle.net gaming services, (3) each of the Games, (4) authorized Mobile Apps relating to the Games and the Blizzard Battle.net service, and (5) all features and components of each of them, whether installed or used on a computer or mobile device.

License Limitations. Blizzard may suspend or revoke your license to use the Platform, or parts, components and/or single features thereof, if you violate, or assist others in violating, the license limitations set forth below. You agree that you will not, in whole or in part or under any circumstances, do the following:
......

Cloud Computing: Use the Platform, including a Game, in connection with any unauthorized third-party “cloud computing” services, “cloud gaming” services, or any software or service designed to enable the unauthorized streaming or transmission of Game content from a third-party server to any device.


My real take, is if you rented a Virtual Desktop, you would probably have a better go, but in the case of this end user agreement I would say it could still be an issue.

With Nvidia creating a custom interface and all that, yeah, the publishers want their own piece of the pie on that.

If company says so, it must be the law!

If you agreed to it, what's the legal issue? One of the downfalls of all this drm stuff.
 
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Ravielsk

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Oh, who could have seen this coming a business model entirely predicated on copyright holders playing nice is not working out because copyright holders are not playing nice.

And to think there galaxy brains looking forward to this "future".