'Borderlands', 'Civilization' publisher withdraws games from GeForce Now, for now

Released in September 2019, 'Borderlands 3' is one of several 2K Games titles withdrawn from GeForce Now

The 2K Games catalogue has been removed from game streaming service Nvidia GeForce Now, joining Activision, Bethesda and others in stepping back from a service they helped to build.

Launching in early February 2020 after five years in beta, Nvidia's cloud gaming service GeForce Now offers free play for an hour at a time, or priority service with superior performance for $4.99 USD a month.

Players connect accounts from other PC gaming storefronts, such as Steam and the Epic Games Store, playing previously purchased games via Nvidia's servers.

Doing so bypasses the need for sometimes costly hardware upgrades in order to enjoy high performance graphics.

Compared to its most direct competitor, Google Stadia, GeForce Now offers good value: Stadia asks $9.99 USD per month on top of what are currently full-price game purchases; PlayStation Now is $9.99; Xbox's Project xCloud is expected to fold into Xbox Live or Xbox Game Pass, whose Ultimate tier is $14.99 per month.

Like Stadia, GeForce Now offers a 90-day free trial for its paid Founders' tier.

Unfortunately, while membership of GeForce Now's free and paid tiers soared to a combined 1 million users in two weeks, several major publishers have left the service.

Activision Blizzard, publisher of "Call of Duty," "Overwatch," "World of Warcraft" and others, departed after a week, in what appeared to be a misunderstanding over the end of GeForce Now's beta testing period and the beginning of the Founder's Tier trial.

In doing so, Activision Blizzard joined several other notable publishers, including Rockstar, Square Enix, Konami and Capcom, all part of testing but not on board for launch.

Bethesda Softworks, of the "Fallout," "Doom" and "Elder Scrolls" franchises, followed suit a week later, "Wolfenstein: Youngblood" its lone exception.

Adding to that number is 2K Games, which had provided GeForce Now with the entire "Borderlands" franchise, including 2019's "Borderlands 3," plus the "BioShock" games, the two latest "Civilization" titles, and several NBA and WWE releases.

Earlier statements from Nvidia staff suggested that missing publishers could return in due course.

"As we approach a paid service, some publishers may choose to remove games before the trial period ends," wrote GeForce Now's GM, Phil Eisler, announcing the 1-million user milestone.

"Ultimately, [publishers] maintain control over their content and decide whether the game you purchase includes streaming on GeForce NOW."

"Meanwhile, others will bring games back as they continue to realize GeForce Now's value."

Perhaps, then, a general unwillingness to take part in GeForce Now's free trial period relates to its lack of subscriber-based revenue.

In the same way, there may be greater openness to collaborate from May 2020, as the first wave of 90-day Founders' trials expire.