Thursday February 02, 2017

Nvidia Stops Promotional Game Resales by Tying Codes to Hardware

Couldn’t care less about the game your GeForce card was bundled with? Want to sell it? Too bad, says Nvidia. In what seems like a clever way to encourage more gamers to use GeForce Experience, future game codes will have to go through that very app, as hardware verification will be required to redeem bundled software. I can’t resist trying out free games in my immediate possession, so this doesn’t really have an effect on me, but this kind of thing is probably a blow to at least some of you who frequent places like our FS/T section.

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Sinceآ…promotional game codes were not tied to a specific account, many users took to either gifting spare keys to friends or selling them on eBay in order to offset the cost of the graphics card purchase. Now, users have to redeem codes via the GeForce Experience (GFE) app, which is directly linked to third-party services like Steam and Uplay. Users must also ensure that the requisite graphics card is "installed before redemption." GFE then performs "a hardware verification step to ensure the coupon code is redeemed on the system with the qualifying GPU." It's not yet clear whether the codes will be tied to a specific serial number/hardware identifier, or whether they will be tied to an overall product line like a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080.


Kyle's Note: Ars did some sloppy reporting here and has issued this update.

Update: Nvidia has confirmed that while GFE checks to ensure a user has installed a qualifying graphics card like a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080, the game itself is not permanently linked to the hardware. GFE's hardware check is based only on the wider product range, and not on a specific serial number.

So here is how this seems to work out. To redeem "free" game codes supplied by NVIDIA, you will need to have GeForce Experience installed, which of course requires a video card with an NVIDIA GPU. The game code is NOT tied to any specific one card, but it will likely be tied to a specific model NVIDIA GPU.

I have an email into NVIDIA now for more clarification.