Bethesda just pulled its games from Nvidia's GeForce Now, and that sucks

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Just one day after Nvidia announced that GeForce Now crossed 1 million users and teased that more than 1,500 games are sitting in its onboarding queue, the company said that all Bethesda games but one will be removed from the service. GeForce Now launched two weeks ago.

“Please be advised most Bethesda Softworks titles will be removed from the GeForce NOW service today. Wolfenstein Youngblood will remain for all members. Founders members can continue to experience the game with RTX On,” the announcement stated.

Bethesda owns many popular PC gaming franchises, including Doom, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, and Wolfenstein. It’s a major hit for GeForce Now, and comes just one week after Activision Blizzard removed its games from the service. You can’t find games from EA, Square Enix, or Rockstar on GeForce Now either.

GeForce Now lets you stream your games from a cloud-based virtual gaming PC to many types of devices, including Macs and Android phones.

The continued publisher resistance towards GeForce Now feels perplexing, as we mentioned in our coverage of Activision Blizzard leaving the service:

“We spoke at length about GeForce Now and why it rocks on a recent episode of our Full Nerd podcast, and its value proposition isn’t limited to gamers alone. Nvidia’s service doesn’t sell you games directly. Instead, it basically rents you a gaming PC in the cloud, and you sign into gaming platforms like Steam, the Epic Game Store, and (formerly) to play games you already own. Nvidia doesn’t take an extra cut. By giving you access to more powerful hardware than you might already own, GeForce Now effectively encourages you to buy more games through existing storefronts. It feels like a win-win for everybody involved… It’s not an all-you-can-eat-buffet subscription like Netflix or Hulu. Activision isn’t losing out even if the company decides to start its own rival cloud gaming service.”

Bethesda and Activision obviously disagree for some reason. GeForce Now users, on the other hand, aren’t happy.

“Disgusting, I don’t understand why Bethesda plays with our hazelnuts, we should be able to use our acquired licenses on any services,” Voxuni said in response to Nvidia’s announcement. “As long as this misunderstanding is not resolved, I ignore your future games, all media combined!”

“Well that was a quick death…I was mostly playing Doom on the go. But now that they have removed that as well. I guess I’ll just ask a refund instead,” said DeadPhoenix86.

“Well I was looking forward to buying Doom Eternal on launch but I guess Bethesda doesn’t want lowspec customers,” said chomikator.

Currently available GeForce Now membership tiers.

“I’m devastated by this news. I played Elder Scrolls Online for hours everyday on GeForce Now because I don’t have a gaming PC,” said CallmeFishmeal. “I will wait it out and see what happens while the free Founders membership is active. If I don’t see any improvement when it’s time to renew the subscription, I’m out. I’m not mad at Nvidia, although more communication would be nice, but I understand there are probably things that legally can and cannot be disclosed to customers, I’m just upset that Bethesda chose this path to pull all its games from GeForce Now and not worried about upsetting their fans. Seems to me they should try harder to get their games out to as many people as possible.”

That last comment resonates. GeForce Now is currently in a trial period of sorts. It offers a free subscription tier, but even people who signed up for a $5 per month Founders subscription for better fidelity and longer play sessions are on a 90-day no-cost introductory period while Nvidia works the kinks out of its service after a long beta. Big publishers pulling their games from GeForce Now not only costs those publishers potential sales from would-be buyers, it also threatens Nvidia’s ability to retain early subscribers.

That said, GeForce Now officially supports more than 300 games, many more than rival Google Stadia, with another 1,000 supporting single-session installs that track your progress via cloud saves.

Those include major games from Valve and CD Projekt Red, such as the Half-Life and Witcher series, with day-one support promised for Cyberpunk 2077, perhaps the most hotly anticipated game of the year. Nvidia’s service also supports many of the most popular free-to-play games, including Fortnite, Dota 2, League of Legends, Destiny 2, Counter-Strike: GO, World of Tanks, Warframe, Team Fortress 2, and Path of Exile. Popular premium esports games such as Rocket League and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds also work on GeForce Now. Hot indie games like Temtem, WolcenA Plague Tale: Innocence, and Frostpunk are also available.

Nvidia says that more than 1,500 games are currently in its onboarding queue, as well. Fingers crossed that the major publishers come to their senses, realize that GeForce Now is basically just playing games you already paid for on another computer, and bring their games back to the service.

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