Nvidia Ramp Up Output for GeForce Now
Somewhere in a parallel universe, tech and gaming columnists are talking about what an incredible success Google Stadia has been.
13:01 03 April 2020
They're praising the launch of the platform, complementing the range of games that have become available through the service, and wondering whether the planned console launches by Sony and Microsoft later this year are already doomed because Stadia has captured such a significant share of the market. Unfortunately for Google, this is not a parallel universe. Google is stuck in the same universe as the rest of us, and in this reality, Stadia has been a monumental failure.
Not quite managing to keep pace with the newest PlayStation or the Xbox Series X wouldn't have been a terrible thing for Google so long as they'd managed to build a dedicated and loyal customer base. They haven't managed to do that. Not only are there far fewer players using Stadia than anyone had anticipated even in their most pessimistic forecasts, but the players that they do have are very unhappy indeed. The gist of their unhappiness is that they don't have as many games to play as they expected, the service isn't as reliable as they'd been led to believe it might be, and they're not getting much in the way of communication from Google about it. The launch of the new consoles later this year might have been the nail in Google's coffin even if there wasn't further competition. Unfortunately for them, there is more competition in the shape of Nvidia's GeForce Now - and appears as if Nvidia is now attempting to put the sword to Stadia and finish the Google product off.
Both Nvidia and Google are attempting to take gaming into the next generation with their products. The basic idea is a simple and sound one. Instead of buying games individually and downloading your own personal copy of a game to store at home, why not have every game possible in one place, playable on any screen connected to any device that's hooked up to the internet? If the idea caught on, it could potentially revolutionize the gaming industry in the same way that online slots websites revolutionized the gambling industry. Before the creation of the first online slots websites, if you wanted to play a specific casino game, you had to go and find a venue offering that particular game - and that venue might not offer any other games. Online slots websites put the whole casino experience under one roof, casino with paypal as a Method of Payment. That's what Stadia and Nvidia seek to do - but it seems that Nvidia is doing it more successfully.
The success of Nvidia hasn't come without problems. Perhaps by virtue of the fact that they were largely working under the radar while everyone focused on what Google was doing, it appeared that some developers and publishers didn't even realize that GeForce Now existed at all. When they did, it came as a surprise to many of them to find out that their games were available through the platform. It's an understatement to say that the companies were unhappy about this. Several of them, including Bethesda and Activision, immediately threatened legal action. Games by both developers were taken down from GeForce now immediately, and other publishers followed suit. It looked like Nvidia had a bleed that they couldn't control, and that they'd soon be forced to shut down because they no longer had any games to offer. That would have been bad news for players enjoying the service, but good news for Google and Stadia. Somewhat improbably, though, the reverse has happened. Nvidia has not only weathered the storm, but they've found a way to start building again - and what they currently have up their sleeve for the first of the year sounds very promising indeed.
As of the start of April - as in, right now - Nvidia has announced that they will be releasing brand new big-name games for the platform every Thursday for the foreseeable future, starting with sci-fi adventure game 'Control' by Remedy Entertainment, which is live as of Thursday 2nd April. Because the GeForce Now system makes use of Nvidia's exclusive RTX cards, it will probably look better played this way than it does on any other platform. 'Control' is just the tip of the iceberg, though - there's a lot more content coming, and reading between the lines, it sounds like a deal of some description may have been agreed between Nvidia and Epic Games.
Tim Sweeney, who is the CEO of Epic Games (the company responsible for ‘Fortnite’), has made several public expressions of support for GeForce Now in the past. ‘Fortnite’ is already available through the Nvidia service, but Sweeney has said that several more titles, including some exclusives, will be released to GeForce Now from the Epic Games store over the coming weeks and months. It might even be Sweeney’s considerable influence that led to the release of ‘Control’ being agreed. Sweeney has used his Twitter account to communicate his opinion that GeForce Now is the most publisher-friendly of all the streaming services, and also offers gamers a better deal because it doesn’t charge any tax on game revenue.
Nobody knows for sure why other publishers have turned their backs on the service, but the low-cost approach that Nvidia has taken with their creation might explain at least some of the reasoning. A monthly subscription to GeForce now currently costs $5 - less than a tenth of the cost of a brand new game from a store, and far less than it would cost for someone to play a game through Stadia. The fact that games were seemingly used without permission may explain some of the reluctance to work with Nvidia, but with the cost so low, it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that concerns about income and profitability come into play either. If they do, they're not a concern for Sweeney or for Epic Games.
The question of which games can be streamed where and when - and with what permissions - is likely to rumble on for a while yet. In the meantime, anyone with a GeForce Now account can now look forward to playing 'Control,' and will also be getting 'The Guild 3,' 'Dungeons 3,' 'Headsnatchers,' 'IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad,' and 'Jagged Alliance 2' in the very near future.