For a few years now, NVIDIA and AMD have been bundling free games with some of their products to boost sales and deliver more value. While the add-ons were certainly appreciated, it allowed a lot of people to also purchase a GPU, sell off the games that came with it, and end up paying less for their upgrade, which may have come in handy if their budget was limited. NVIDIA this week announced that they would no longer be allowing this to take place so easily, and redeeming games now is only possible if you’re doing it on the machine with the graphics card you’ve just purchased already installed.
The way the code redemption used to work is that you’d receive a key or set of keys for the bundle that you just bought, which would be delivered via e-mail. On both AMD and NVIDIA’s websites, there would be web pages set up to allow you to enter the unique code given to you, which would register that you’ve bought a qualifying product, and then give you the keys to enter into Uplay, Origin, Steam, or any other relevant game client. NVIDIA had an earlier trial with delivering games through GeForce Experience once before, bundling The Witcher 3 with GeForce GTX Titan X graphics cards, with codes redeemed through GeForce Experience, and several promotions have since used GFE to hand out game keys.
Starting next week, game codes can now only be redeemed through GeForce Experience straight into your game client account. What’s also crucial is that you need to have a qualifying graphics card installed to redeem the games, because NVIDIA checks the system for the card. If you’re in the habit of selling off, or gifting the free games you get with a card, then, you need to have access to the GeForce account set up for the person you’re selling/gifting the free games, as well as being logged in to their accounts for their games as well, later unlinking them and going back into your own GeForce account.
Gee, that’s a lot of work isn’t it? This almost certainly will curtail the number of people who are going to be selling off the free games they get with their card, because trusting strangers on the internet with your Steam login details is a big no-no, but it’s definitely not going to deter anyone from trying to spoof their graphics card to use the free codes. It is still possible to sell off the unique keys that you get with your card, so perhaps there’ll be a new form of scalping where people who missed out on a promo deal turn to the second-hand market to buy keys which might save them a little bit on a game they intended to purchase anyway.
On a related note, many Reddit users voiced their concern over the new method because of an unclear statement given by NVIDIA that suggested that the game would only be playable on the machine that has your GPU installed. In a brief reply to questions asked by Ars Technica, NVIDIA told Ars that the keys aren’t linked to any hardware ID, and that once the game is rendered to the user’s account, NVIDIA no longer has any responsibility for it.
For those of you wondering about AMD’s system, it looks like it isn’t changing anytime soon. The above screenshot was taken today when redeeming a game code for my little brother’s recent Radeon RX 470 purchase.