In an attempt to win over regulators who are scrutinizing its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has signed a 10-year deal with NVIDIA to bring Xbox games to the GeForce Now streaming service. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer stated that “Xbox remains committed to giving people more choice and finding ways to expand how people play,” and this partnership will help grow NVIDIA’s game catalog, including popular titles like Call of Duty.
The announcement was made by Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, at a press conference in Brussels, where he attended a European Commission hearing with other prominent figures from the gaming industry. Smith also confirmed that Xbox games will be available on Nintendo platforms like the Switch under a binding 10-year deal, including Activision Blizzard titles if the acquisition closes.
Under the agreement, players will need to buy copies of games from the Xbox PC, Steam, or Epic Games stores to play them on GeForce Now. While it’s not clear when Xbox games will be available to stream through the service, NVIDIA said that it and Microsoft will begin work immediately to integrate Xbox PC games into GeForce Now.
This deal will provide players with another way to stream Microsoft’s games from the cloud, anywhere they have a sturdy internet connection, with Xbox Cloud Gaming being the main way to do so currently. The NVIDIA deal is an attempt by Microsoft to show regulators that Xbox Cloud Gaming won’t be the only exclusive way to stream its games and to address concerns over the Activision takeover.
The UK’s competition regulator has already voiced concerns over the proposed $68.7 billion acquisition, stating that it could result in a “substantial lessening of competition in gaming consoles” and “harm UK gamers.” The regulator found that Microsoft already had a 60-70 percent share of the cloud gaming market, and if the deal goes through, it would “reinforce this strong position.” In December, the US Federal Trade Commission also sued to block the merger.
Microsoft’s agreement with NVIDIA to bring Xbox games to the GeForce Now streaming service is a strategic move to address concerns over its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. It provides players with another option to stream games from the cloud, and the partnership will help expand NVIDIA’s game catalog. It remains to be seen if this will appease regulators or if Microsoft will face further hurdles in completing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.