In a rather unexpected move it seems Nvidia has struck a deal with Best Buy to begin selling certain GeForce models that are built and supported directly by the graphics firm. For now the initiative apparently covers only GTX 460 and GTS 450 cards, and they are stock clocked with designs based on the reference PCB and cooler. Bryan Del Rizzo from Nvidia issued a short statement confirming the deal, which is exclusive to Best Buy stores, and said more details will be given later.
Although Nvidia-branded cards will reportedly complement GeForce products from AIB partners we can certainly see how this could create an awkward situation with the few manufacturers that remain committed to selling cards from the green team exclusively. Bright Side of News speculates the move could be a response to the loss of several high-profile partners over the last year or so specifically BFG Technologies.
The scope of the deal is unclear at this point but we are guessing Nvidia wont offer its entire lineup under its own brand to avoid eroding its partner ecosystem. Also, it seems unlikely that Nvidia will offer overclocked non-reference boards so that part of the market will likely be reserved for AIB partners as well.