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Nvidia’s Game Code Redemption Process Checks Hardware, Stifles Reselling/Sharing

Nvidia quietly updated its website’s FAQ section pertaining to the company’s GeForce Experience coupon code redemption process. Among the platitudes of useful tips and error message troubleshooting, Nvidia disclosed that it is now performing hardware checks to ensure that the free game goes to the original purchaser.

“Game coupon codes offered as part of a qualifying GPU or PC purchase are intended for use by the purchaser,” stated the Nvidia FAQ page. “As part of the coupon redemption process, NVIDIA uses GeForce Experience to perform a hardware verification step to ensure the coupon code is redeemed on the system with the qualifying GPU.”

Simply put, it’s now virtually impossible to resell or gift a game code attained from a GPU or PC offer due to the new hardware authentication process. Requiring a GeForce Experience login in addition to providing the GPU’s serial number and point of sale permanently assigns that coupon to the purchaser’s account, and you can’t redeem multiple copies for regifting, as Steam and other online game platforms allow.

“A game code can only be redeemed against an account that does not already own the game. If you already own the game, you will not be granted a second copy.”

However, that’s not to say there aren’t ways around this deterrent. Hypothetically, if you wanted to sell or gift an extra game coupon, you could install the GPU onto a local system (or use the PC that came with the game offer), log into the recipient’s GeForce Experience and the game’s online platform accounts (Steam, Uplay, Origin, etc.), and redeem the coupon for them. However, this process isn’t the easiest (or most secure) method, and few would relinquish their online passwords and accounts to anyone they don’t personally know. Still, if viable, you could at least continue to share extra or unwanted game codes with close friends in this manner.

Nvidia’s crackdown on game code resellers seems to have positive intent, but it could have negative consequences, at least, for consumers. As a system builder, I find that I have many extra game codes laying around when I have an order to fulfill and Nvidia is offering a free game. I usually give them away to friends or email the codes to colleagues, at no charge, in an effort not to let a good game go to waste. Making redemption more difficult could result in fewer copies of these games in the wild.

The new verification aspect of the game code redemption process also makes the offers feel more like mail-in rebates, where the inconvenience of registration and redemption could deter some from bothering at all. However unsavory this new process is to consumers, Nvidia stands to win on all fronts by possibly saving some money on unredeemed game offers (kind of like a rebate) and forcing consumers to install and use GeForce Experience to cash in on their free game.

Although Nvidia’s new coupon redemption process appears to be intended to stop code resellers, those with less-malicious intent will have to find a new way to gift unused codes to their friends.

  • shrapnel_indie
    I see another issue. Say you upgrade your GPU at a later date... and say you show customer loyalty and buy another NVidia card, or yours bites the dust, and the replacement obviously has a different serial. (OR you just upgrade to AMD 'cause they had a card that was better for you this time around.)

    I guess you're screwed if you have to reinstall the game for some reason in this scenario as the lockdown has other repercussions beyond just making it so you can only have one copy.
    Reply
  • kewlguy239
    19244211 said:
    I see another issue. Say you upgrade your GPU at a later date... and say you show customer loyalty and buy another NVidia card, or yours bites the dust, and the replacement obviously has a different serial. (OR you just upgrade to AMD 'cause they had a card that was better for you this time around.)

    I guess you're screwed if you have to reinstall the game for some reason in this scenario as the lockdown has other repercussions beyond just making it so you can only have one copy.

    It doesn't work like that. Once you redeem the game, it will be in the library of whatever game platform it's on. Also, it's not a continuous verification, so if you upgrade at a later time, it won't affect it so long as you redeemed it when it was valid.
    Reply
  • renz496
    19244211 said:
    I see another issue. Say you upgrade your GPU at a later date... and say you show customer loyalty and buy another NVidia card, or yours bites the dust, and the replacement obviously has a different serial. (OR you just upgrade to AMD 'cause they had a card that was better for you this time around.)

    I guess you're screwed if you have to reinstall the game for some reason in this scenario as the lockdown has other repercussions beyond just making it so you can only have one copy.

    i think they only made that hardware check when redeeming the code for the first time. after that the game will be tied to you steam or uplay account (in this case it will be uplay). people upgrade gpu all the time. nvidia knows that. tied the game to the specific hardware is simply dumb because that would prevent people from upgrading even to their own future card.

    but on another forum i see people get angry because they cannot sell those free stuff that they get when purchasing the product.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    That's pretty unfortunate. Christmas 2015, I bought a lot of hardware and wound up with three free codes for Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. I sold all three keys and made a cool $100. 10/10 GOTY
    Reply
  • hotroderx
    I don't know if this is pure win Nvidia . I am sure some people like my self have justified a extra 60-70 dollars for a video card! cause of the free game. They would have bought and played anyway!

    Looking at that from a bit of a modified point of view its really not to big of a stretch. To see someone drop the 650 dollars for a GTX 1080 with the thought process they can sell there 980Ti + a game code and recoup a large chunk of there value!. By locking the game codes to the hardware. These people might be less adept to upgrade. Wouldn't those be the people nvidia wants upgrading the most? The ones upgrading ever 1-2 years when the newest hardware comes out!? I would assume the largest profit margins are on the early bleeding edge adopters.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    AMD should announce that you can still sell/gift unused codes. This can help push more people to the AMD platform. When they are deciding between similar cards. Only the relatively low sales volume GTX 1070/1080 and Titan X would be unaffected.
    Reply
  • thundervore
    This is just stupid!!

    When I buy new hardware I always sell the codes and games because I don't want them or play them. On top of that it help offset the ridiculous price I paid for the hardware that I will not use to play the included bonus items.

    How fast before this blows up in their faces like DRM?
    Reply
  • renz496
    19245222 said:
    AMD should announce that you can still sell/gift unused codes. This can help push more people to the AMD platform. When they are deciding between similar cards. Only the relatively low sales volume GTX 1070/1080 and Titan X would be unaffected.

    i doubt AMD can really do this as a bullet marketing point to go against nvidia. they do this then no game publisher will want to do "free game promotion" with AMD anymore. as others point out in other forum nvidia most likely did not care what you actually do with the game. because once you bought the hardware they get the sale. the problem is with game publisher. it's okay if the promo code used by the one purchase the hardware. but when they resell the code game publisher lose potential customer that will be buying the game directly from them regardless it is being full price or not. if anything this is most likely game publisher request to nvidia to ensure the game code to be used only by the one that purchasing the hardware or else there is no game bundle at all.

    just look at EA. if you aware about it EA no longer give free games with graphic card purchase. battlefield 4 for example EA was doing promotion with AMD 290X. but the game are not free. there are 290X Battlefield 4 edition that was priced $30 more than regular 290X back then. it is half the price of full game but at least it is not free. and then recently with BF1 they only give AMD upgrade codes. to use that code you still need to buy the game at full price.
    Reply
  • renz496
    19245667 said:
    This is just stupid!!

    When I buy new hardware I always sell the codes and games because I don't want them or play them. On top of that it help offset the ridiculous price I paid for the hardware that I will not use to play the included bonus items.

    How fast before this blows up in their faces like DRM?

    it is bad for consumer but i think people should not get angry when they can't sell the free item that comes with the purchase.
    Reply
  • BorgOvermind
    That GeForce Experience thing is a pathetic attempt at copying RAPTR.

    While RAPTR by itself only caused crashes sometimes when the video recording overlay was activated, in the case of GeForce Experience (which btw uses subliminals) there are so many issues you will not be able to keep it installed and active as a gamer that uses too many games. There are different levels and type of incompatibilities, some which have no fix whatsoever.
    I've intensively tested this on an Acer Predator with GTX1070 and the verdict is quite clear: uninstall.
    Maybe it will be improved in the future, but I won't use an app that causes excessive game crashes no matter the enforcement methods.
    Reply