Microsoft Strikes 10-Year Deal to Bring Xbox PC Games to Nvidia’s GeForce Now
Microsoft and Nvidia have announced a new 10-year deal that will bring Xbox PC games to Nvidia's GeForce Now cloud gaming service. The announcement comes as Microsoft seeks regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which would bring some of the most popular gaming franchises in the world under its umbrella. According to The Verge, as part of the deal, Nvidia has publicly supported Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, in a bid to resolve concerns that Microsoft may lock its games behind its own streaming service.
Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft will make its Xbox games that play on PCs available on Nvidia's GeForce Now cloud gaming service. Microsoft has also committed to making its games available to stream regardless of whether they are purchased in the Windows Store, Steam, or Epic Games Store. The deal also includes commitments to make Microsoft-owned games available on GeForce Now on the exact day and date or as close to the day and date as they can with their release on PC, including Minecraft. It will also include Battle.net titles like Overwatch, should the Activision Blizzard deal go through. Games should start arriving on GeForce Now in a matter of weeks, though it could take a year to complete the whole process.
We have signed a 10 year agreement with NVIDIA that will allow GeForce NOW players to stream Xbox PC games as well as Activision Blizzard PC titles, including COD, following the acquisition. We´re committed to bringing more games to more people – however they choose to play.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February 21, 2023
In exchange for this agreement, Nvidia has publicly supported Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal, stating that "the partnership delivers increased choice to gamers and resolves Nvidia's concerns with Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard". 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. Microsoft has also offered Sony a similar 10-year deal on new Call of Duty games, but Sony has not yet signed a deal, likely because it is opposing Microsoft's Activision acquisition and any Call of Duty deal would help to strengthen Microsoft's position.
The move to bring Xbox PC games to Nvidia's GeForce Now service is a smart one for Microsoft, as it allows the company to reach a wider audience with its games. While Microsoft has its own cloud gaming platform through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which has provided some competition to Nvidia's GeForce Now, the deal with Nvidia allows Microsoft to expand its reach even further. By making its games available on a third-party platform like GeForce Now, Microsoft can potentially reach new customers who may not have access to its own platform.
However, the deal also raises questions about Microsoft's future plans for its own cloud gaming platform. With Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft has been building out a subscription-based model that allows users to access a library of games for a monthly fee. By making its games available on GeForce Now, Microsoft is effectively competing with its own platform. While it's possible that Microsoft could be looking to phase out Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in favor of a more open approach, it's also possible that the company is simply hedging its bets and looking to reach as many gamers as possible.
The deal with Nvidia is also a key part of Microsoft's efforts to convince European regulators to approve its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Cloud gaming was one of the key concerns of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this month in its provisional findings. By making its games available on a third-party platform like GeForce Now, Microsoft is showing regulators that it is committed to providing choice to gamers and that it won't lock its games behind its own streaming service.