Last week AMD announced their Never Settle Reloaded gaming bundle, with several high-profile games available with the purchase of AMD GPUs. This week, NVIDIA follows suit with their own announcement...except this is a "gaming bundle" that's quite different from what we've seen in the past.

We've seen the transition from traditional gaming models to Free 2 Play (F2P) over the past few years, with many MMOs reporting increased revenue from the "free" model compared to monthly subscriptions. F2P has been so successful that quite a few high-end games have skipped the traditional model completely and launched as F2P. NVIDIA's latest bundle targets three of these titles: World of Tanks, Hawken, and Planetside 2.

Part of the reasoning behind the latest bundle is to convince gamers with lower end hardware to upgrade. Based on figures from Valve's latest Steam hardware surveys and NVIDIA's recommended settings for the above games, 36 million gamers don't meet the required hardware specifications for the above three titles. NVIDIA provided some numbers showing performance with their newer GPUs compared to an old 8800 GT as a reference:





In order to open up access to these and other games on NVIDIA hardware (note that Hawken and Planetside 2 both support PhysX while World of Tanks is a 3D Vision title), NVIDIA is offering up to $150 of in-game value with the purchase of a new GTX series GPU.

For GTX 650 and GTX 650 Ti purchases, buyers will receive a $25 credit for each of the games. Purchase a GTX 660 or above and the amount of in-game currency bumps up to $50 per title. While all of the games are technically free, the $25 or $50 credit is enough to get you jump started, and clearly the game manufacturers are hoping that after the initial taste gamers will be interested in forking over additional funds.

Putting things in a different light, the least expensive GTX 650 currently goes for $100 (with a $10 mail-in rebate available right now), so if you're actually interested in playing the above games that's potentially $25 towards the hardware and the rest towards the games. The GTX 650 Ti starts at $140 (with a $20 MIR available), and it offers twice as many CUDA cores with increased memory bandwidth for a fairly sizeable increase in performance. The base GTX 660 starts at $220 right now ($10 MIR), so that would be $70 towards the hardware and $150 towards the games. It increases the number of CUDA cores yet again and also comes with a 192-bit memory interface, effectively more than doubling the performance of the GTX 550 for a comensurate increase in price. (Note that it appears the above promotion also applies to new laptops with GTX 650M or higher GPUs.)

Keep in mind that both the AMD and NVIDIA bundles are delivering new games with hardware that is now several months old at best--in fact, AMD's bundle with the 7800 and 7900 uses hardware that's roughly a year old, and the GTX 680 is from the same era. This is one more way to try and entice users to upgrade, and there's the potential for new hardware to come out in the next few months that will make the current offerings look just a little less shiny. But that's always the case. If you've been sitting on the fence for a few months, this might be enough to push you over and get you to upgrade; at least, that's the hope. The full set of slides are included below for reference.

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  • A5 - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    If that's your logic, every piece of software ever is a scam. Reply
  • WeaselITB - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    +1 to you, A5, for your sound logic. I'm happy someone else thinks similarly. Reply
  • juampavalverde - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    2 unknowns and one free to play? cmon nvidia, dont be skimpy, even amd is giving more valuable games on the bundle. Reply
  • A5 - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    Those are all F2P games. I don't know about Hawken, but WOT and PS2 are both pretty good.

    Also, NV's bundle doesn't have to be as good because they sell more than AMD. Just saying.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    I've heard of all three, and all three seem to be reasonably popular. Not to mention they're ALL free to play. But I'm curious: which games are the "unknowns" on the list in your book?

    World of Tanks has 45 million players registered worldwide, so even if we say only 10% are active that would be 4.5 million -- that's pretty much a runaway success in the gaming industry.

    Arguably the best known of the games in the US, Planetside 2, comes up with just over 3 million accounts at present. It's about two months old, so that's a pretty good number for just two months.

    Hawken is the game with the fewest accounts it seems, but again it's relatively young (launched Dec. 12, 2012) and there are plenty of people that like mech games so I expect it to do reasonably well. I couldn't find any accurate player counts anywhere, but there are only 15K or so user accounts at PlayHawken.com -- if that's their total player base, they're in trouble.
    Reply
  • Bob Todd - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    I was contemplating setting up an Eyefinity system (for desktop use, not a true 5760x1080 CrossFire system for gaming), but wanted to see what kind of game bundle Nvidia countered with. I'm glad they answered quickly, but I have no interest in this. A 7870 with Bioshock and Tomb Raider on the other hand is interesting to me. I want the former game, worst case I'd sell the code for the latter. Hell I even thought about picking up a 7850 1GB too for the HTPC. It would be a really nice card for ~$70 after a trip to eBay to sell both the codes. Now my only sticking point is wondering if I'd really enjoy streaming gaming to a SHIELD... Reply
  • thesavvymage - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    Do you think the game codes would sell? I feel like people would be skeptical buying game codes on ebay, and I know ebay has buyer protection but what about seller? I would hate to sell a code, have them register it, and then file with ebay saying it was already used and get my money taken back... Reply
  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    Codes for the 3 games in the AMD bundle would definitely sell. Steam codes end up for sale on eBay all the time. Getting ripped off by the buyer is a legitimate concern, but that's true of selling anything. We'd all prefer direct rebates to worrying about flipping some portion of the transaction, but nobody is going to sell me a new 7850 with a lifetime warranty for under $100 :). Technically you should be able to resell the Nvidia codes too, I'm just not convinced the market for reselling in-game cash for existing F2P games is as big as the market to gobble up AAA titles that aren't even available yet. You can likely resell either bundle, you'll probably just get back more of the code's value for the retail games. There's several Never Settle bundles up at a certain auction site now, you can always watch a few to see where the bidding ends up. I'm not a big gamer so I don't follow bundles very closely, but the AMD one definitely got my attention for perceived "value" of the games. This Nvidia bundle only got a chuckle. Reply
  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    Edit: Never mind on the potential of selling just 1 of the codes. Finally bothered to look at the pic of the back of the coupon on Newegg. Reply
  • sirroman - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    YES! Now I can finally try those sweet F2P games! This is a steal!!!!

    Seriously. This bundle is a joke.

    It's just way better to buy a 7900 card, get 3 games, try those 3 F2P games with roughly the same performance (except for PhysX, maybe?) AND if I ever feel I want to really sink on one of those F2P games I can chose which one I find better suited for my taste AND THEN pay for something in it.

    IF this bundle was really a 75-150$ voucher for any F2P game on a list it *could* get interesting, but right now I would NEED to commit myself for ALL THREE of those games to make this bundle worthwhile, and must of us just can't do that. OR would want to do that.

    This should be put in the hall of fame of ridiculous ideas, credit on F2P games? WTH.
    Reply

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