Nvidia makes it virtually impossible to give, trade or sell bundled game codes

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Bundling a free game or two with the purchase of a new graphics card is a marketing strategy hardware makers have used for years. In addition to giving prospective buyers an incentive to buy a specific card, it’s a great way for gamers to occasionally pick up a “free” title.

That said, it’s perfectly reasonable for a buyer not to be all that interested in the bundled game, perhaps because they already own it or simply have no desire to play it. Rather than let the free game code go to waste, it’s not uncommon for users to give said code(s) away to friends or family members, trade them for a game they do want or sell them outright and use the proceeds to help offset the cost of the card they came with.

As outlined in its revised code redemption FAQ, however, those options will no longer be viable for buyers of Nvidia GPUs.

Nvidia notes that game coupon codes offered as part of a qualifying GPU or PC purchase are intended for use by the buyer only. To help ensure that’s the case, you’ll now only be able to redeem promotional game codes for keys through Nvidia’s GeForce Experience software.

Furthermore, the GeForce Experience software will perform a hardware verification step to ensure the coupon code is redeemed only on a system using a qualifying GPU. It isn't linked directly to the card's serial number but it must be the same class of card.

This more or less puts an end to being able to give, trade or sell a bundled game coupon code. Worse yet, Nvidia says that in most cases, a game code can only be redeemed against an account that does not already own said game. If you already own the free bundled game, you will not be granted a second copy and because you can’t easily give, trade or sell it, the promotion is effectively rendered useless.

In speaking with Nvidia on the matter, Ars Technica has learned that although you will need a qualifying video card installed at the time of coupon code redemption, the game itself isn’t linked to the hardware. For example, if you redeem a code for a Steam key, the game will run just like any other Steam game on whatever hardware you choose. What’s more, you can uninstall Nvidia’s GeForce Experience app after redeeming the coupon code and even use a different graphics card.

Nvidia is running the risk of ticking off a lot of gamers with a controversial requirement whose motive isn’t entirely clear.

Is Nvidia simply trying to boost adoption of its GeForce Experience software? Is the company caving to pressure from publishers that are unhappy with game key resellers? Perhaps they’re trying to avoid a repeat of a recent Amazon loophole that let shoppers place an order for a GTX 1070, redeem the free Gears of War 4 coupon code then cancel the order and keep the game?

What are your thoughts on the matter? Is Nvidia’s move justified or have they crossed the line? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Permalink to story.

 
D

davislane1

Nvidia is running the risk of ticking off a lot of gamers with a controversial requirement whose motive isn’t entirely clear.

It's pretty obvious they want to funnel people into using GeForce Experience.
 

treeski

TS Evangelist
Ridiculous. My at-home machine uses an AMD graphics card, but my work machine uses Nvidia. I stopped installing the "Experience" application when I noticed you are required to make an account and sign in.
 

BabyFaceLee

TS Booster
I really don't blame nVidia for doing this to be honest. I've sold game codes in the past but I always thought it would only be a matter of time before that would no longer be possible.

If something's included as a freebie why do people expect to get the value of the freebie if they don't want it? The sense of entitlement these days is astonishing.
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
Maybe after all the years thinking that bundled games helps sell more their cards they've finally come to the disappointing conclusion that the ploy doesn't really work on most people. It may on some though, but I really don't see why. Personally I'd rather have the value of the bundled game (even though it may be a title I would buy and play) chopped off the price and rather pay for that game separately.
I recently gave away the Xsplit Gamecaster code that came bundled with my MSI mobo to someone who would use that type of service because I certainly would never use or even wanted it, but I also didn't want to see it go to waste either. Incidentally the inclusion of it didn't have the slightest bearing on my decision to buy the board.
Nvidia, just like all other monolithic companies just have to be party poopers when shrewdy buyers figure out a way to take advantage of ideas cooked up and implemented to make that company even more money. A prime example is Intel quite recently disabling any type of overclocking of all of their chipsets that didn't start with a 'X' or 'Z'.
That said, in spite of all the finger cramp inducing typing I've just done... there are no such things as free lunches, the cost of the bundled game/s is hidden in the price of the card anyway.
 

Tanstar

TS Evangelist
I really don't blame nVidia for doing this to be honest. I've sold game codes in the past but I always thought it would only be a matter of time before that would no longer be possible.

If something's included as a freebie why do people expect to get the value of the freebie if they don't want it? The sense of entitlement these days is astonishing.
Bundled games often stop discount codes from working (NewEgg for sure). Also, if you can sell the game for more than you would ever pay for it, then it isn't really free when you keep it.
 

Badonk4

TS Member
More BS from companies opposed to the very natural human inclination to share, because said companies are closed-minded, greedy control-freaks. It's just so anti-consumer and as another guy said, I stopped using GeForce Experience once an account was required. STOP making walled gardens - especially when it works fine without.
 

Rockstarrrr

TS Booster
I really don't blame nVidia for doing this to be honest. I've sold game codes in the past but I always thought it would only be a matter of time before that would no longer be possible.

If something's included as a freebie why do people expect to get the value of the freebie if they don't want it? The sense of entitlement these days is astonishing.
Really? You ever get that feeling when purchasing nVidia product that anything you get is free? :D And I have bought a lot nVidia products over the years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: darkzelda

Rockstarrrr

TS Booster
More BS from companies opposed to the very natural human inclination to share, because said companies are closed-minded, greedy control-freaks. It's just so anti-consumer and as another guy said, I stopped using GeForce Experience once an account was required. STOP making walled gardens - especially when it works fine without.
I stopped using GFE once I found out about their own telemetry systems.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Footlong

ikesmasher

TS Evangelist
I give it 2 or 3 months before they reverse this because of the hundreds of angry reddit users saying how theyve been an nvidia fan for X years and might switch to AMD because of this and so on.
 

OcelotRex

TS Evangelist
More BS from companies opposed to the very natural human inclination to share, because said companies are closed-minded, greedy control-freaks. It's just so anti-consumer and as another guy said, I stopped using GeForce Experience once an account was required. STOP making walled gardens - especially when it works fine without.
I don't think it's anti-consumer at all; Nvidia is clarifying the promotion's terms to the consumer. From this behavior it appears that the promotional item should remain with the purchaser of the hardware and not be used for resale. Not liking a promotion is not the same as anti-consumer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cliffordcooley

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
They are nVidia's codes to give away, they can set the guidelines as to how they will be activated. The codes are also property of the developers. The developer can dictate who gets a free copy as well. This may set a precedence and AMD may not have a choice but to conform. Only time will tell.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Billybobjoey

OcelotRex

TS Evangelist
They are nVidia's codes to give away, they can set the guidelines as to how they will be activated. The codes are also property of the developers. The developer can dictate who gets a free copy as well. This may set a precedence and AMD may not have a choice but to conform. Only time will tell.
I'd imagine the extra stipulation ensures better pricing for the licenses that Nvidia is paying I.e. the consumer gets better games or more games.
 

Chesterfried

TS Enthusiast
I'm guessing this is more to appease game publishers. I have bought several Nvidia bundled game codes off eBay at a discounted price, which turns into a lost sale for the publisher as I would have otherwise picked up the game from Steam or the Microsoft store at full retail.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OcelotRex

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
...[ ]...Furthermore, the GeForce Experience software will perform a hardware verification step to ensure the coupon code is redeemed only on a system using a qualifying GPU. It isn't linked directly to the card's serial number, but it must be the same class of card.

Speaking with Nvidia on the matter, Ars Technica has learned that although you will need a qualifying video card installed at the time of coupon code redemption, the game itself isn't linked to the hardware. For example, if you redeem a code for a Steam key, the game will run just like any other Steam game on whatever hardware you choose. What's more, you can uninstall Nvidia's GeForce Experience app after redeeming the coupon code and even use a different graphics card. ...[ ]....
This isn't substantially different that which Intel has been doing with the, "value added software", its been including with its own branded motherboards, for as much, and possibly more, than a decade!

You can use the included software on a different Intel motherboard model, but it can't be used on another brand of board, regardless of whether the off brand mobo even contains the same chipset!

The only difference is, you're not required to register the "free" software, it's installed with a disc supplied with the board(s).

Given most enthusiast's aversion to Intel's "locked BIOS", it is reasonable to expect this isn't widely known in the gaming community.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
I'm guessing this is more to appease game publishers. I have bought several Nvidia bundled game codes off eBay at a discounted price, which turns into a lost sale for the publisher as I would have otherwise picked up the game from Steam or the Microsoft store at full retail.
It's not a lost sale as Nvidia is paying them upfront for the codes, so there's no way the dev can loose.

9/10 time I don't even want the game code coming with the video card or already have the game. Now it provides zero extra incentive to get a game code that does nothing for me. Might as well be a blank slip of paper included instead. Previously that code was 20-35 bucks and now it's nothing. That's a big consideration when buying a video card, especially in the mid-range where Nvidia need to beat the RX 480 and the sweet spot RX 470 (which doesn't really have an official competitor at it's price / performance).
 
  • Like
Reactions: darkzelda

Cracken

TS Rookie
More bullsh*t from nvidia.

The more annoying crap they are doing the more im willing to compromise GPU performance and buy AMD instead. If Vega is similar performance per $ to nvidia it will be a very easy choice.
 

OcelotRex

TS Evangelist
It's not a lost sale as Nvidia is paying them upfront for the codes, so there's no way the dev can loose.

That's a big consideration when buying a video card, especially in the mid-range where Nvidia need to beat the RX 480 and the sweet spot RX 470 (which doesn't really have an official competitor at it's price / performance).
It's not a lost sale - it's possible lost revenue. The person reselling the code does so at a discount, otherwise people would buy from a digital retailer. The individual buying the code would be paying a higher price on the retail market.

As far as competition goes while the 470 may be the paper champ both it and its 480 brother are lagging behind in sales. Perhaps it's not all about $$$/performance anymore?
 

Raff Greysabre

TS Rookie
It's pretty obvious they want to funnel everyone into Geforce Experience even though it has the potential to stifle your card's performance (lower specs recommended for The Division but my 780ti disagrees with Geforce's assessment and runs the game at higher specs with better results and limited stuttering/side effects).

Geforce Experience is better than Ubisoft's offerings but honestly if you know what you're doing, just run MSI Afterburner and be platform agnostic/independant. It does what Geforce Experience does but doesn't need to tell you what to do or what it thinks is best, it just works and doesn't interrupt what you're doing.

Even though Geforce Experience 3.0 is "3x faster than Geforce experience 2.0" doesn't matter because it shouldn't ****ing be that resource heavy in the first place. Just install MSI Afterburner and experience low latency video and screenshot recording without some ****ing noodle of a program telling you what to do.

The real reason Nvidia restricts these codes is because of the amount of penis they have to suck.
 

Latest posts