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Nvidia's GeForce Now loses 2K games, gains Epic support

Another publisher pulls from streaming service as Tim Sweeney declares it most "developer and publisher-friendly" option

2K Games is the latest company to withdraw its games from Nvidia's GeForce Now.

Subscribers were previously able to play some of the publisher's biggest hits, including Borderlands 3 and the BioShock games, via the streaming service, but support for these were removed at the end of last week.

According to a forum post by community manager Cory Banks, the removal was requested by 2K Games, although Nvidia is working with the publisher in the hopes of re-enabling these games in future.

It's the latest blow to the streaming service following similar requests from Activision Blizzard and Bethesda. Even independent developer Hinterland Studio demanded that Nvidia pull The Long Dark from GeForce Now after the company "didn't ask for our permission to put the game on the platform."

In the case of Activision Blizzard, Nvidia later clarified that this was down to a "misunderstanding" -- the Call of Duty publisher participated in a beta trial of GeForce Now and Nvidia believed that meant the partnership would continue after the service launched. It's possible there have been more misunderstandings with the other companies.

Nvidia has now gained significant new support in the form of Epic Games. CEO Tim Sweeney announced via Twitter that not only has his company made Fortnite compatible with GeForce Now, it will also enable games sold via the Epic Games Store -- including exclusives -- to work on the streaming service.

Again, the latter point comes down to publisher permission, but Sweeney encouraged games makers to get behind GeForce Now.

"It's the most developer-friendly and publisher-friendly of the major streaming services, with zero tax on game revenue," he wrote. "Game companies who want to move the game industry towards a healthier state for everyone should be supporting this kind of service."

He went on to add that cloud streaming services will be "key players in ending the iOS and Google Play payment monopolies and their 30% taxes" -- a subject Sweeney has spoken out about before.

There appears to be some confusion around how GeForce Now works, particularly with games companies taking issues with their titles being added to the platform without permission.

Unlike Google Stadia, titles are not purchased exclusively for the streaming service, nor are they bundled into the subscription like Xbox Game Pass. Instead, players still purchase the titles via Steam (or now Epic Games Store), with revenues going to developers and publishers as usual. If players then subscribe to GeForce Now, they have the ability to play titles they have already purchased via streaming rather than running natively on hardware.

As with all the previous withdrawals, the Nvidia forum post about 2K Games' removal has been followed by complaints by users who purchased these titles specifically to play via streaming as they do not own hardware powerful enough to handle the games.

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Latest comments (5)

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing A year ago
This is the problem people keep running into again and again and again

You are retransmitting other’s copyrighted work without a license. End of story

This has been tried many times and in many forms. This is probably the most famous

They tried to rent people TV antennas to receive over the air TV. This case will be very relevant. There is nothing that allows a third party service to retransmit the games. They need to pay royalties to the publishers., or they’re going to keep shutting them down. It doesn’t matter if Epic signed up if no one will let their games be used.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing A year ago
For the moment, let's skip the whole idea of publishers telling hardware owners how to use their software; this line of argument will have no impact.

I get it, also renting out remote hardware to the user is the #1 additional revenue stream for all future software access subscription services. This is why 2k is doing it now, but at the cost of antagonizing Nvidia?

Catch 22 for 2k is Microsoft. If 2k can pull the plug on Nvidia doing software streaming, Microsoft can pull the plug on 2k doing it. Hence 2k will not have its own streaming service built on Windows and now presumably AMD cards. Just as 2k prevented Nvidia from using 2k software in this business model, Microsoft will stop 2k from using Windows in 2k's scheme of streaming the Windows version of their games themselves. Microsoft will stop any 2k streaming service using Windows as operating system built on AMD or Nvidia white label solutions rebranded as 2k Streaming. Why? Because Microsoft will want to force 2k into using xCloud. That would be 30% of your revenue and some licencing costs then. Thank you for trusting our business.

Option A:
Software can be run locally or remotely without consent from the software owner. In which case neither 2k nor Microsoft will be unable to prevent Windows based streaming services by Nvidia, AMD and Intel, neither of which are motivated to let 2k earn money from streaming.

Option B:
Software publishers can disallow the use of their software in remote streaming setups, in which case 2k will not earn a dime from streaming because of catch 22 above.

Option C:
2k does a Valve, forks some Linux Distro and tries to start their own service from scratch. In which case they need the support of AMD, Nvidia and Intel to code the GPU drivers for the operating system of that service. AMD is in bed with Stadia and xCloud, Nvidia is doing its own thing and Intel is years away from gaining GPU traction in the market. Either way, no 2k Streaming in the end, because nobody will give 2k the necessary hardware documentation to create drivers. Why? Because monopolizing those drivers ensures that only Nvidia, AMD, or Intel can circumvent Microsoft from stopping their own Windows based streaming services (cmp. Option B). That would be 30% of 2k revenue then to appear on those streaming solutions.

Checkmate for 2k's ambitions.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing A year ago
Or, publishers generate a generic fee schedule anyone can sign up for. This is already in place in things like the music industry. If you cover a song, you don’t even need to ask permission, you just need to pay the established fee schedule.
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Show all comments (5)
James Prendergast Process Specialist A year ago
@Jeff Kleist: I'm failing to see the logic of your argument. Retransmission ocurrs only when you are taking an existing element and forwarding it. The aereo case doesn't apply here (and quite frankly it was technically and logically a poor implementation of the law) because the use case is completely different (as are the licensing issues).

A better way to look at the situation is the case looking at infringement within computer use:

Since the Geforce now instance is temporary (afaik you have to reinstall games each session but save games are retained) nobody else has access to the data and the user requests the data according to the terms of their own license agreement; this is plain and simple transmission.

If your reading of the law were correct then "transmission" within a computer (to RAM,, graphics card, HDD, the screen) would be infringing. Moving that one further step away does not change the technical details or logic.

Regarding Klaus' points above, you're running into the situation where remote desktop clients are now illegal, in-home streaming is illegal, having multiple mirrored displays is illegal... and having a long hdmi cable is illegal.

Quite frankly, it's ridiculous view points like that that make me want to drastically neuter copyright law and reform it into something more similar to what it was originally intended for. A 20-50 year limit seems appropriate to me. If copyright holders keep doing this, they're going to end up on the same backlash as loot boxes did.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht DevelopmentA year ago
Opposition to GeForce NOW makes no sense whatsoever.

It's just someone installing games on a remote PC.

Does that mean I shouldn't be able to set up my own remove server and stream games to my PC? Seems remarkably short sighted.

NVidia aren't even taking a sale of the cuts. They just acting as a remote server.

Anyone who pulls out of this is shooting themselves in the foot. And if they're expecting people to pay twice for a game they own, or to have to subscribe to multiple cloud providers, they're being anti-consumer. It's a self-inflicting wound.

The game I'm working on right now is primarily targetting GeForce NOW as I think it's an awesome way to distribute a game. Piracy is impossible, and nobody will have access to the binaries to reverse engineer it.

I'm just waiting / hoping for them to roll out support for web streaming so that I can offer an instant play in the browser to try it out before downloading.

This platform has so much potential.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 10th March 2020 12:01pm

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