Microsoft has announced that it will be partnering with NVIDIA to take its Xbox games to the cloud gaming service, GeForce Now - which could lead to new developments in the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard merger.
This move comes in light of President and Chief Executive Officer Brad Smith's meeting with European Union officials about Microsoft's potential $69 billion merger with Activision Blizzard. To convince officials that the deal will be good for competition, Microsoft is leveraging the NVIDIA partnership as a part of this compromise, as GeForce Now is a popular cloud gaming platform with over 10 million users.
Smith announced at a press conference that Xbox games are now available through the GeForce Now platform, allowing users to play on their laptops, desktops, or mobile devices without owning an Xbox console. He added that if the Activision deal closes successfully, all Activision Blizzard games will also be available on the GeForce Now platform.
On February 21, 2023, NVIDIA and Microsoft released a joint statement about this 10-year deal.
The partnership is predicted to benefit both companies, with Microsoft gaining access to a wider audience and NVIDIA expanding its cloud gaming offerings. It is also expected to be well-received by users, who will utilize this convenient and accessible gaming experience to play Xbox games on various devices, regardless of their hardware specifications.
The move came as a surprise to many regulators, as a Bloomberg report from January found that NVIDIA approached the Federal Trade Commission with concerns about the Microsoft and Activision deal.
The European Commission, an affiliate of the EU, launched an investigation into the deal last November, citing concerns about reduced competition among video game producers. In particular, the Commission is concerned that this deal could give Microsoft an edge in the world of cloud gaming, which is becoming increasingly popular due to its convenience and accessibility. For example, NVIDIA's GeForce Now has more than 25 million members, as does Microsoft's Game Pass cloud subscription service.