Very unlikely, but possible. In a very strange move, Activision Blizzard requested NVIDIA to remove all Blizzard games from the NVIDIA GeForce NOW cloud platform which allows games to be played on older computers, mobile devices (Like phones and tablets), and other devices.
Not long ago there was a new EULA rule that disallowed players from playing games in cloud gaming services like LiquidSky. But now they are extending to not allow Blizzard games in the NVIDIA GeForce NOW platform, too. Surprising, considering that Blizzard and NVIDIA have been partners for many years.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to not allow NVIDIA GeForce NOW to stream Blizzard games. Of course, you would be playing the games in an NVIDIA server that streams to you, but in the case of World of Warcraft, you have an account that pays a subscription. You need to login through Blizzard’s login system as well.
In addition, you can only download the games into the cloud server through the Blizzard Launcher.
Unsure what the angle is here. Is it that cloud streaming means no box sales of games like World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, etc.?
NVIDIA GeForce NOW doesn’t sell games at all. You access Blizzard games through launching the Blizzard Launcher within NVIDIA NOW. Login into the Blizzard Launcher, and that’s your DRM. You can’t play Blizzard games without the Blizzard Launcher and a Blizzard account, and must pay the game within the Blizzard Launcher platform (unless you already own the game) — or in the case of World of Warcraft, you can’t play it within NVIDIA GeForce NOW without a paid subscription. There is absolutely no discernible reason to yank the Blizzard games off NVIDIA GeForce NOW, other than the loss of personal PC/Mac configuration data which Blizzard gathers from your computer, and maybe IP address data. I can see how the latter choice might be an issue, though.
Here is what an NVIDIA representative posted in the NVIDIA Forums:
Cory@NVIDIA: As we take GeForce NOW to the next step in its evolution, we’ve worked with publishers to onboard a robust catalog of your PC games. This means continually adding new games, and on occasion, having to remove games – similar to other digital service providers. Per their request, please be advised Activision Blizzard games will be removed from the service. While unfortunate, we hope to work together with Activision Blizzard to reenable these games and more in the future. In addition to the hundreds of games currently supported, we have over 1,500 games that developers have asked to be on-boarded to the service. Look for weekly updates as to new games we are adding. — source: NVIDIA Forums
In another forum post, an NVIDIA representative confirmed all the Blizzard games removed from the NVIDIA NOW platform.
Cory@NVIDIA: Hi everyone, happy to share that the following games are rolling out now on GeForce NOW:
• Araha: Curse of Yieun Island
• Days of War
• MechWarrior Online Solaris 7
• Prison Architect
Games can take a little while to propagate across all servers, but will be available on the service soon.
The following games have been removed from GeForce NOW at the publisher’s request:
• Call of Duty: Black Ops III
• Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
• Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
• Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019
• Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Singleplayer
• Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer
• Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer
• Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Singleplayer
• Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
• Call of Duty: World at War
• Call of Duty: WWII
• Construction Simulator 2 US – Pocket Edition
• Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
• Diablo III
• Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
• Heroes of the Storm
• Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
• Spyro Reignited Trilogy
• StarCraft Remastered
• StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
• World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
• World of Warcraft Classic
While unfortunate, we hope to work together with our partners to reenable these games and more in the future. — source: NVIDIA Forums
So unless there is a very awkward reason not to allow Blizzard games in the NVIDIA GeForce NOW platform, one possibility is that internally and not-yet announced:
- Blizzard might have plans to bring some of these games to Android and iOS themselves
- Activision Blizzard might be developing its own cloud-gaming streaming service.
- Activision Blizzard might be signing exclusivity with Google Stadia or Microsoft Project XCloud.
But, darn, this is a severe case of speculation. Except, there is actually several job openings for a unspecified Cloud project within the IT Infrastructure engineering team.
Several players were able to play Blizzard games through the NVIDIA GeForce NOW service for a short time, but eventually the games got yanked off the platform on Activision Blizzard’s request.
UPDATE: Feb 13 — Not sure if any of my speculations mentioned above stand, but there is no concrete outcome yet between NVIDIA and Blizzard. Bloomberg had a response from NVIDIA concerning the situation.
From the quotes, basically Activision and Blizzard were ok with NVIDIA NOW Beta, but NVIDIA misunderstood that their initial agreement also included continued support through the first 90-days of NVIDIA NOW launch.
“Activision Blizzard has been a fantastic partner during the GeForce Now beta, which we took to include the free trial period for our founders membership,” Nvidia said in a statement. “Recognizing the misunderstanding, we removed their games from our service, with hope we can work with them to re-enable these, and more, in the future.”
So going back to what NVIDIA said in their blogpost: “We hope to work together with Activision Blizzard to reenable these games and more in the future.” — it seems it is a matter of negotiating a commercial agreement between NVIDIA and Activision Blizzard. If both parties feel satisfied, the games might be back. Of course, pending the outcome of the negotiations.
Similar topics about the unannounced Blizzard Cloud Service theory:
- Theorycrafting: Blizzard Cloud Game Streaming Service
- Speculation: Blizzard Media Network for eSports and VOD Films/Shows?