Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service has had a somewhat rocky launch since it exited beta earlier this month, and it’s getting even rockier. The company says it’s now losing games from major publisher Bethesda Softworks, which owns Bethesda Game Studios series like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls as well as id Software franchises like Doom. According to Nvidia, one title that will stick around is Wolfenstein: Youngblood, for reasons the company is not disclosing.
This announcement comes just a week after GeForce Now lost access to all Activision Blizzard titles due to a licensing dispute. Apparently, Nvidia had access to Activision Blizzard titles when GeForce Now was still in beta, but it never got full permission once the service became a commercial product and Nvidia started charging $5 a month for it. Prior to that, the service was free to use if you actually managed to get off the wait list.
GeForce Now is showcasing the thorny nature of cloud gaming
After GeForce Now entered what Nvidia is calling its public trial, there was also reportedly a disagreement between the two companies over the platform’s model, which allows subscribers to buy games on other platforms, like Steam, and use them on GeForce Now. It’s a major difference between Nvidia’s service and other models like Google Stadia and it’s arguably much more consumer-friendly, but it also means some publishers, like Activision, won’t play ball if cloud gaming users aren’t buying a separate copy of a game.
It’s unclear if the same set of issues is at play here with Bethesda, but the sudden removal of all of the publisher’s games, save the lone Wolfenstein title, does seem to indicate some sort of licensing dispute that came to a head.
Nvidia addressed some of these issues in a blog post published yesterday. “This trial is an important transitional period where gamers, developers and publishers can try the premium experience with minimal commitment while we continue to refine our offering,” the company wrote. “As we approach a paid service, some publishers may choose to remove games before the trial period ends. Ultimately, they maintain control over their content and decide whether the game you purchase includes streaming on GeForce Now.” Nvidia said it expects these game removals to be “few and far between.”
It’s not all doom and gloom for GeForce Now. The service managed to exit beta before its primary competitor, Google Stadia, launched its planned free tier, giving it an edge over the pricier Stadia Pro option that’s on the market now. Just yesterday, Nvidia also announced that GeForce Now would be getting CD Projekt Red’s much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 on launch day come September, which is a huge win for Nvidia that brings one of the most-hyped upcoming releases of the year to its cloud gaming service. (Cyberpunk 2077 is also coming to Stadia, but it’s not clear if Google secured it for launch day.)