Nvidia’s game streaming service, GeForce Now, is moving to a new library opt-in system, one which will hand videogame developers ultimate control over whether their videogames are supported on the platform or not.
It appears as though Nvidia’s dream of an open gaming PC in the sky is well and truly over—big publishers have kicked up such a fuss that it is now relinquishing any control it once had over which games make it onto the GeForce Now service. From here on out, it’s up to publishers and developers to opt-in and allow their videogames to be beamed from one of Nvidia’s datacentres.
In turn, that means some videogames will leave the GeForce Now platform, at least for the time being. The reason for which, Nvidia cites in a blog post, is that “some publishers are still figuring out their cloud strategies.” These changes will take place from May 31.
You can find out the full list of games that will no longer be available after that date here. These are a few on the ‘to be culled’ list that stood out to me: Kerbal Space Program, Celeste, Donut County, Football Manager ’18/19, Magic the Gathering: Arena, Pillars of Eternity: Deadfire, Total War: Three Kingdoms, and both Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami.
It’s a troubling sign for cloud gaming services. You can call me naive, and perhaps I’m turing a blind eye to the specifics of EULAs, but I don’t see what difference there is between the gaming PC sat under your desk and one which you’re renting from Nvidia—either way you’re still buying the games through the same channels as before: Steam, Origin, Epic Games Store, GOG, etc.
That’s what separates Nvidia GeForce Now from a service such as Google Stadia. Whereas Stadia has a store and requires studios to develop their games specifically for the service, GeForce Now is more or less a promise of compatible and capable hardware. The machine you receive (either for free or for a small fee) is conceptually the same as any gaming PC, and maintains the same access to the full range of digital libraries—it’s just made up of a sliver of a server rack instead of individual components.
Whether you play the videogames that you’ve already purchased via a rented server or home-built silicon shouldn’t really matter. And it’s not like anyone seems to care about the eleventy other streaming services that offer the same thing as GeForce Now….
That’s just my two cents, anyways.