Microsoft is putting Xbox games on GeForce Now in an attempt to win over regulators
If the Activision Blizzard acquisition goes through, Call of Duty games will come to NVIDIA's streaming service too.
Microsoft has struck a 10-year deal with NVIDIA to bring Xbox games to the GeForce Now streaming service. The company's president, Brad Smith, made the announcement at a press conference in Brussels, where he, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan, Activision Blizzard head Bobby Kotick and other prominent figures attended a European Commission hearing over Microsoft's proposed takeover of Activision Blizzard.
Smith said that, if the deal goes through, Activision Blizzard games like the Call of Duty series will be available on GeForce Now as well. The publisher removed its titles from the cloud gaming service in 2020. Smith's GeForce Now announcement came hours after he confirmed that Microsoft will bring Xbox games to Nintendo platforms like the Switch under a binding 10-year deal — and Activision Blizzard titles if the acquisition closes. NVIDIA is now supporting the Activision Blizzard deal, Smith said.
“Xbox remains committed to giving people more choice and finding ways to expand how people play,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in a statement. “This partnership will help grow NVIDIA’s catalog of titles to include games like Call of Duty, while giving developers more ways to offer streaming games. We are excited to offer gamers more ways to play the games they love.”
Users will need to buy copies of games from the Xbox PC, Steam or Epic Games stores to play them on GeForce Now. It's not clear when Xbox games will be available to stream through the service, which has more than more than 25 million users. However, NVIDIA said it and Microsoft "will begin work immediately to integrate Xbox PC games into GeForce Now."
The agreement will afford players another way to stream Microsoft's games from the cloud almost anywhere that they have a sturdy enough internet connection. Currently, Xbox Cloud Gaming (which requires a Game Pass Ultimate subscription) is the main way to do that. The NVIDIA deal is an attempt by Microsoft to placate regulators' concerns over the Activision takeover by showing that Xbox Cloud Gaming won't be the only exclusive way to stream its games.
Earlier this month, the UK's competition regulator said that the proposed $68.7 billion Activision acquisition could result in a "substantial lessening of competition in gaming consoles" and "harm UK gamers." The Competition and Markets Authority found that Microsoft already had a 60-70 percent share of the cloud gaming market and that, should the deal go through, it would "reinforce this strong position." In December, the US Federal Trade Commission sued to block the merger.