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Nvidia Offers New Call of Duty Game Free to Anyone Lucky Enough to Buy an RTX 3080, 3090

Call of Duty RTX bundle
(Image credit: Nvidia)

As if you needed more incentive to buy an RTX 30-series card, Nvidia announced today that it’s now bundling Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War with select RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 GPUs. A game being packed in with a GPU isn't unusual. But the RTX 3070 launch earlier this week proved that demand for Ampere is still high enough to make the some of the best graphics cards almost impossible to find without resorting to the secondhand market. So we have to wonder -- why run this deal when most won't be able to redeem it?

Snagging the bundle won’t just get you the gam, but also a few in-game goodies too, like the Woods operator and a weapon blueprint. That’s a nice touch of extra incentive, but casually browsing through RTX 3080 and 3090 listings on most sites shows that actually claiming this deal might be hard enough to make it more of a thought experiment than a tangible possibility.

Wen browsing stores in the hopes of discovering where to buy an RTX 3080 or 3090, you'll find they're universally sold-out when buying new.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang even acknowledged earlier this month that RTX cards will probably be hard to find into 2021. “I believe demand will outstrip all of our supply through the year," the exec said.

This means that unless you’re very lucky and able to pounce on cards as they restock -- which has proven difficult, thanks to bots -- you’re likely not going to be able to get this deal.

So why offer a deal that’s theoretical for most people, especially so soon after launch and when demand is high enough for people to buy the cards without extra incentive? A possible answer: AMD.

AMD finally unveiled Big Navi to the public earlier this week, revealing three new cards that are poised to be competitive with the RTX 30-series while beating it on price. For instance, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is currently set to be $120 less than the RTX 3080, while the RX 6900 XT is set to be $500 less than the RTX 3090. And since AMD is launching its RX 6000 cards after the Ampere release, it also has a chance to beat Nvidia on supply.

All of those points come together to give AMD a serious chance at taking the GPU lead in the coming generation. So even with RTX 30-series demand higher than Nvidia can satisfy, it makes sense to announce a deal that might take back some of the spotlight.

It's all possible that Nvidia and Activision were already working on this deal for a while. That’s not as fun to picture, though.

Michelle Ehrhardt is an editor at Tom's Hardware. She's been following tech since her family got a Gateway running Windows 95, and is now on her third custom-built system. Her work has been published in publications like Paste, The Atlantic, and Kill Screen, just to name a few. She also holds a master's degree in game design from NYU.