Nvidia limits game bundles to video card model

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 3, 2017

When you buy a video card for gamers, it is often the case that you get a game or multiple games along with it.

These games are provided as codes that you need to enter on Nvidia's website to download and install the games on the PC on popular platforms such as Steam, uPlay or Origin. So, basically, you enter the code on Nvidia's website to get the "real" keys that you can then use to register the game on one of the gaming platforms.

Games included in video card game bundles are usually the latest blockbusters.

Up until now, all you needed was that code to get the game to activate just fine on the system. While many customers did activate those games probably, some decided to sell the game codes instead.

This makes sense from a customer perspective as you could make some money back if you are not interested in a particular game, or already own it.

Nvidia limits game bundles to video card model

Nvidia decided to limit the practice by tying (some) game promotions to the video card model they were offered with.

This means that the code won't be useful anymore to others unless they own the same video card model.

The first game bundles featuring the change is the "Prepare to Battle" bundle. The games For Honor and Ghost Recon Wildlands are tied to the purchase of the GeForce GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 video card.

GeForce Experience

Another thing that is new is that you cannot redeem the code on the Nvidia website, but need to use the company's GeForce Experience software for that.

GeForce Experience is part of the Nvidia video card driver bundle. The latest version makes registration mandatory, and Telemetry is also collected.

This additional requirement is problematic for users who don't want GeForce Experience on their system. The only option that I see is that they install the software, register an account, enter the promo code for the game, get the game linked to their gaming account, and uninstall GeForce Experience afterwards.

GeForce Experience checks the video card, and allows activation only if the right card is connected to the PC. Without GeForce Experience, there is no way of activating the game anymore on the PC.

Game coupon codes offered as part of a qualifying GPU or PC purchase are intended for use by the purchaser. As part of the coupon redemption process, NVIDIA uses GeForce Experience to perform a hardware verification step to ensure the coupon code is redeemed on the system with the qualifying GPU

Ars Technica got confirmation from Nvidia that only the video card model, and not its serial number, is checked in the GeForce Experience software.

This means that it is still possible to sell the code, but the range of potential buyers is severely limited as they need to have access to the same video card to activate the game on their end.

Another thing that is different is that you don't get a key anymore for manual activation on third-party game portals like Steam. The system has been designed instead to directly link to the game platform through GeForce Experience. Basically, what is happening is, that the game is added to the account you select during the activation phase.

The game is linked to the account from then on out. You can switch video cards or entire systems later on, and still play those games on them.

Nvidia released instructions for redeeming games through GeForce Experience on the company website.

Closing Words

The new limitation makes it difficult to sell game promo codes that come with video cards. It sounds as this is a new option for Nvidia and the game maker to limit the reselling of promo codes for games, but not mandatory for all video card bundles that will come out in the future.

Now You: What's your opinion on the new limitation?

Nvidia limits game bundles to video card model
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Nvidia limits game bundles to video card model
Nvidia wants to stop the reselling of game promo codes. The company will tie game promos to the video card model and GeForce Experience.
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  1. Anonymous said on February 5, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    When i change my card after a year, i wont be able to play the game?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 6, 2017 at 6:16 am

      If you have linked the game to your game account, then you can continue to play it.

  2. John said on February 4, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    what is going to happen is that they make a new game account to link game to, and sell the account.

  3. seemslegit said on February 4, 2017 at 12:28 am

    I just got the promo code for a 2nd 1080 I ordered (even tho cards not yet been delivered). It’s complete BS, but as long as I get to uninstall GeForceExperience after I redeem it. TBH, I’ve still not 100% decided if I will claim. Ghost Recon does look pretty sweet tho. The major thing I have a problem with is the need to install their NoobForceExperience software that I’ve deliberately avoided since it’s inception. That pisses me off more than their Evil Corp greed of not wanting ppl to sell codes.

  4. 420 said on February 3, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    It is almost as if these shitty companies do not want or care about their customers. Always with the bullshit. Force you to use their shitty spyware, force you to register to get something that supposedly you own but have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get. So sick of being treated like shit after spending my hard earned money. It’s like all these shitty rewards from companies, you go to their website give up a bunch of information and get some trivial piece of crap “reward”. So they end up making more off you then the crap they are giving away.

  5. Ann said on February 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Well another reason not to choose nvidea.
    closed software
    over priced, coz they have “the best”
    and now making even more money out of the ppl by telemetry data .
    charging extra for functionality that they could deliver for free but blocking that by requiring extra chips in external devices.
    No that company bears no love from me, and I refuse to buy those products.

  6. Dave said on February 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I didn’t even use the game code that came with my card because it required me to make some crappy Nvidia account. I think I gave it away. I only recently switched from ATi (AMD) and that was for Shadowplay and Steam In-Home Streaming. AMD needs to up its game.

  7. rusty said on February 3, 2017 at 11:05 am

    “I guess that it all comes to $ “lost” by publishers, or at least their perception of loosing.”

    This. For sure.

  8. michal3city said on February 3, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I can’t find any viable reason to induce such limitation. Software attached to video card may or may not convince me to buy this particular card instead of the other one, but after I pay for it, it should be up to me whether I play it, sell it, or throw away instantly.

    Doesn’t it come near monopolist practices? Also, I can imagine game publishers press on nvidia to limit bundled game reselling, but news as we know it does not support such thesis. I guess that it all comes to $ “lost” by publishers, or at least their perception of loosing.

    1. Jason said on February 3, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      “it should be up to me whether I play it, sell it, or throw away instantly.”

      And now you understand why people hate DRM, and why some even support a major reform of copyrights to reduce their power. The ordinary fair practices that used to occur in the marketplace are increasingly being made impossible through technological means. This is not happening because society got together and chose to change directions, but only because publishers realized they can exploit technology to bypass traditional social power structures.

      /rant :)

  9. Perk said on February 3, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Did they change CEO recently ? I sense a different kind of assholery in them.

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