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Nvidia plans to lock Game Ready drivers behind GeForce Experience registration

Brad Chacos | Oct. 16, 2015
Soon, you won't be able to get Game Ready drivers for your GeForce graphics card unless you hand your email address over to Nvidia.

nvidia game ready

Nvidia’s pushing out a new beta version of its slick GeForce Experience software Thursday, building atop the awesome update from last month that lets you play local co-op games with your faraway friends—even if they don’t have gaming machines.

The update adds the ability to broadcast your games to both Twitch and YouTube Gaming at a buttery-smooth 60 frames per second at 1080p resolution. You can now stream games from your GeForce-equipped PC to an Nvidia Shield device at up to 60 fps at 4K resolution, and that’s with 5.1-channel surround sound, too. It’s all wonderful stuff, pushing Nvidia’s class-leading GeForce Experience software even further out in front of the competition, especially if you’re all-in on Nvidia’s ecosystem.

twitch broadcasting gfe

But what’s coming today isn’t the real news, even if it’s welcome news. The real news is what’s coming in December—or rather, what’s not coming after December.

Of drivers and single-source destinations

One of the key weapons in Nvidia’s arsenal against AMD is its deluge of Game Ready drivers. Virtually every major PC game release in the past two years has been accompanied by a day one, WHQL-certified Game Ready driver from Nvidia, designed to make the latest and greatest games run wonderfully on GeForce graphics cards. They’re great!

Sometime in mid-December, however, you’ll be able to install Game Ready drivers only via GeForce Experience—and even then only after you’ve registered a verified email address with Nvidia. The drivers you can grab on or via Windows Update will be limited to quarterly releases for bug fixes, new features, security updates and so on.

nvidia game ready driver support
GeForce users were able to download all these Game Ready drivers without having to hand their email address over to Nvidia.

Locking performance-enhancing drivers that have always been freely available behind a registration wall chafes—hard—but Nvidia says the change will reduce headaches for both casual and hardcore gamers, as well as continue to push GeForce Experience as a go-to PC gaming solution.

“We kind of have two camps in terms of gamers,” Nvidia’s Sean Pelletier said in a group call with journalists. “On one hand you have the gamer that’s just casually playing things here and there, using their system for daily use and gaming on the side. They don’t want to be inundated with these [Game Ready] drivers…

“On the other side of the equation you have enthusiast gamers, who get excited about preloading a game, who want to play a game the day it comes out with all the bells and whistles,” Pelletier continued. “That’s obviously the demographic we’re looking at for Game Ready drivers. We’re targeting GFE as a single-source destination for those gamers.”


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