As multiple publishers and developers pull their games from Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud game streaming service, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney recently tweeted in support of it. In the thread, he stated that Fortnite will remain available for subscribers to the service as will all other games available on the Epic Games Store, at each developer’s discretion (via PC Gamer). This public backing of GeForce Now comes as a growing number of developers and publishers, including 2K Games, Activision Blizzard, and Bethesda have pulled games from the service since it left beta earlier this year, likely due to a licensing dispute.
It’s the most developer-friendly and publisher-friendly of the major streaming services, with zero tax on game revenue. Game companies who want to move the game industry towards a healthier state for everyone should be supporting this kind of service!— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) March 7, 2020
Sweeney claims that GeForce Now is “the most developer-friendly and publisher-friendly” streaming service as it doesn’t issue a tax on game revenue. Also, he posits elsewhere in the thread that supporting GeForce Now will push the game industry toward “a healthier state,” as Nvidia’s platform- and storefront-agnostic approach to business is an arrow across the likes of Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. Each of those platforms collects taxes on game purchases and wall those purchases from use in other services. Sweeney’s stance on app stores is consistent; Epic sidesteps paying the Google Play Store’s 30 percent cut of app profits by instead offering Fortnite on Android through the Epic Games app that you have to install manually.
Despite Sweeney’s enthusiasm for Nvidia’s model, it seems that many developers and publishers take issue with how Nvidia is conducting business — at least so far. Activision Blizzard, the first publisher to exit the service, did so because it didn’t give Nvidia express permission to provide its games outside of the beta. Raphael van Lierop, director and writer of The Long Dark, pulled that game from the service for a similar reason and cited on Twitter that “devs should control where their games exist.”
Most gamers want to be able to access their digital games wherever they are, but Sweeney’s statement reads like a series of subtweets to diminish companies that refuse to jump on board with this vision, lumping in giant gaming companies and those who self-publish games on much smaller margins alike. What’s more, it doesn’t speak to the larger, nuanced conversation that need to happen regarding where Nvidia’s business model fits into the chain of how and where you gain access to digital games you already own. My colleague Nick Statt wrote a must-read piece that breaks this topic down to its basics, so give that a look.