Their intentions are good, but NVIDIA’s going to rattle a lot of cages with one of their newest moves.
In an upcoming update to NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience, the company will begin locking its Game Ready drivers (drivers released specifically to benefit a specific game) behind a GeForce Experience registration. From that point, Game Ready drivers won’t appear in Windows Update or via the GeForce website. Those will be restricted to the quarterly driver updates that fix bugs and add features. If you want the driver released specifically for, say, Rise of the Tomb Raider when it hits PC early next year, that’ll have to go through the GeForce Experience.
The purpose of this, said NVIDIA’s Sean Pelletier, is to keep casual gamers – the kind that update their PC for a single game every few years and don’t do much with it other than that, for example – from being inundated with driver updates that really don’t apply to them. In short, NVIDIA is asking core gamers to opt-in for Game Ready drivers.
This is going to rankle a lot of gamers who strongly believe in the open nature of the PC platform. The registration and software are both free, but now you need to give NVIDIA some personal information to get game-specific drivers when before that was something that could easily be done through the website.
As VG247 notes, that open nature of the PC platform is also why there’s sure to be software soon that extracts those Game Ready drivers and uploads them to some other site so that they can be installed anonymously. It’s hard to tell how effective this will be or really how it benefits NVIDIA. The GeForce Experience software is actually pretty solid, with a neat set of features including game streaming and and recording as well as compatibility with their Shield devices, but that’s not something all gamers want.