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Nvidia: GeForce Now lost Activision games over ‘misunderstanding’

Company hopes to get them back to streaming service later

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A player runs forward into combat in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and 19 other games were abruptly pulled from Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service earlier this week.
Image: Infinity Ward/Activision
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Nvidia says its GeForce Now service lost its library of 20 Activision and Blizzard games because of a “misunderstanding” over permission to continue offering them once the cloud gaming service left its beta period.

Nvidia didn’t describe exactly what the misunderstanding was in a statement yesterday, but did say it hoped to bring back Activision Blizzard games in the future. The full statement:

Activision Blizzard has been a fantastic partner during the GeForce Now beta, which we took to include the free trial period for our founders’ membership. Recognizing the misunderstanding, we removed their games from our service, with hope we can work with them to re-enable these, and more, in the future.

Bloomberg reported that Activision Blizzard wanted to negotiate a new commercial agreement for its games when GeForce came out of its beta period. Nvidia, according to Bloomberg, doesn’t want that kind of arrangement for GeForce Now. Its players may only stream games they already own from marketplaces like Steam, uPlay, Epic Games Store, and (until this week)

GeForce Now had also removed games from publishers such as Rockstar Games, Square Enix, and Capcom before the service went to premium pricing. The Verge noted Friday night that GeForce Now’s boss said publishers “are taking a while to make up their minds” about participating according to Nvidia’s no-commercial-agreements model, which doesn’t give them any extra money.

Furthermore, the disappearance of Activision Blizzard games from GeForce Now does not have anything to do with the exclusive streaming agreement the publisher and Google signed in January. In its quarterly conference call with investors on Feb. 6, the publisher said Stadia is not a part of that arrangement. That pact dedicates the publisher’s esports events to YouTube and specifies Google Cloud as the “preferred provider” of network infrastructure.

What this really means to a PC gamer considering GeForce Now is that they’re paying a premium for streaming access to games they already own — and yet they may lose that access at any time. GeForce Now offers free one-hour trial sessions to anyone, and a “Founders” membership that is free for the first 90 days, then $4.99 a month for the following nine months.

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