Home / Gaming / Nvidia adds hardware verification to stop reselling of free game codes

Nvidia adds hardware verification to stop reselling of free game codes

Graphics card makers often toss in a free game with the purchase of a new card. This used to take the form of a physical disc in the box, but these days it’s a code for online redemption. Until now, you could use those codes on any piece of hardware. Nvidia has started to use a redemption system that is tied to the piece of hardware that included the game, effectively stopping consumers from reselling those codes.

The standard way of handling free promo games involves going to the Nvidia website, entering the necessary info from your new video card, and then waiting for the code to be spit out. These codes for Steam, Origin, or some other service are free and clear — completely unrelated to the video card that was purchased. That led many people to re-sell the codes in order to recoup some of the cost of the card. Nvidia is not in favor of this behavior.

The company is currently rolling out the new locked down system with For Honor and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands. You can currently get one of those free when you purchase a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080. With these promos, you must use the GeForce Experience app on your computer to process the free game code. It’s linked directly to game stores like Steam. Here’s the important part: the redemption won’t work unless the GPU that included the free game offer is actually installed in the system.

redeem

GeForce Experience is the sometimes aggravating software Nvidia uses to distribute drivers, power features like Shield GameStream, and optimize game settings based on your PC’s hardware. It got a big overhaul recently that requires a user account. This might have been in preparation for the changes to game redemption. It’s the connection to your account that establishes the link between your system and the game. Nvidia says in a forum post that the new system “has nothing to do with spying, tracking, or other nefarious activities.”

Nvidia has a FAQ up with details of the new GeForce Experience redemption system, including all the various error messages you might receive. I’m sure people will be irked by this whole system. It adds a layer of complexity that can complicate gaining access to your free game. I have personally had ample issues with the GeForce Experience software simply forgetting my login. However, reselling the codes was technically a violation of the terms, and this is apparently the best way Nvidia found to stop that. A cynic might point out Nvidia shouldn’t care about code reselling, and maybe this is just an attempt to push people into installing GeForce Experience. You can draw your own conclusions.

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