Microsoft is bringing its Xbox PC games to Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service. Speaking at a press conference in Brussels today, Microsoft president Brad Smith announced the news as it seeks to convince EU regulators to approve its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition.
“Microsoft will be bringing its Xbox games that play on PCs to Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service,” said Smith in a press conference attended by The Verge. “We will also bring all of Activision Blizzard’s titles including Call of Duty to GeForce Now.”
You’ll still have to buy games individually before you can play them on GeForce Now; the deal is simply a 10-year agreement for the streaming rights. Microsoft is committing to make its games available to stream regardless of whether you purchase them in the Windows Store, Steam, or Epic Games Store, according to a press release. There’s no mention of Microsoft’s own rival Xbox Cloud Gaming service, or the larger Xbox Game Pass which can include access to Xbox PC games, and Nvidia VP Phil Eisler told us he couldn’t discuss Game Pass specifically.
However, Eisler says the agreement includes commitments to make Microsoft-owned games available on GeForce Now “day-and-date or as close to day-and-date as we can” with their release on PC, including Minecraft, and will include Battle.net titles like Overwatch should the Activision Blizzard deal go through. Games should start arriving on GFN in a matter of weeks, though it could take a year to complete. Read more in our interview with Phil Eisler.
In exchange for this agreement, Nvidia now publicly supports Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal. “The partnership delivers increased choice to gamers and resolves Nvidia’s concerns with Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Nvidia therefore is offering its full support for regulatory approval of the acquisition,” reads another part of Nvidia’s press release.
The deal comes just hours after Microsoft revealed it had signed a binding 10-year agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms. Smith announced the agreement earlier today, and Microsoft has also offered Sony a similar 10-year deal on new Call of Duty games. The PlayStation maker hasn’t signed a deal yet, likely because it’s opposing Microsoft’s Activision acquisition and any Call of Duty deal would help to strengthen Microsoft’s position.
Microsoft is hoping that this Nvidia deal for Xbox PC games will sway regulators or at least convince them that the software giant won’t lock its games behind its own streaming service.
“It’s really a question of whether they [regulators] want to block this deal or approve it with a set of guardrails... remedies, and solutions,” Smith said at the press conference today. Cloud gaming was certainly one of the key concerns of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this month in its provisional findings. Will an Nvidia and Nintendo deal be enough to convince regulators? We’re about to find out in the coming weeks.
Update, 1:22PM ET: Added information from Nvidia’s press release, including clarification that you’ll need to purchase games.
Update, 4:03PM ET: Added details from a call with Phil Eisler, Nvidia’s GM and VP of GeForce Now.