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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  • xaueious - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    Would much rather have a lower price on the cards themselves.
  • Skidmarks - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    I couldn't agree more. None of these titles are up my alley anyway so it's not much of an upgrading incentive to srart with. I'm still quite happy with my GTX 570. It plays all of the later releases @ 1080p with no sweat even with all the eye candy turned all the way up. I'll give the 6 series of card a skip & wait to see what the 7 series brings.
  • A5 - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    They aren't paying anywhere near full price for the IGC bundled.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    I wouldn't be surprised if most of the F2P companies would be happy to give away $25 of in-game content just in the hopes of getting someone hooked.
  • A5 - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    That's true as well. Sony does 3x IGC days/weekends (aka get "$15" worth of IGC for $5) every 2-3 months, so this probably isn't much different.
  • Proxicon - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Especially when it costs you essentially nada to do it..

    heck, give them "50 dollars worth" of goods if it gets em hooked!
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    I agree; a game bundle has never factored into my purchase decision, even if I want the game. Give me $30 off the price (no mail-in rebates please) instead of a $60 game.
  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    While I think at a high level almost everyone would generally prefer a) direct discount, b) rebate, c) bundles like these, in that order, I think it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that they can't heavily influence a purchase decision if the games are good. This is especially true for pre-release games that people won't already own. I was casually looking at a 7870. I want Bioshock. The same thing that would have cost me $285 is now going to cost me $215, and I get another decent game for free (might have been a Steam purchase a year later for $10). If you know you are going to buy the game shortly after launch anyway, the bundles are absolutely a good value. And I'd rather have Bioshock (even without Tomb Raider) than $30 off the card since it would indisputably keep another $30 in my pocket. The key is the game selection. Usually the free games suck and you end up stuff like Nexuiz and very little in the way of buyer motivation. The Never Settle Reloaded bundle on the other hand is going to move some serious merchandise. And finance wise, AMD/Nvidia are only paying a fraction of the retail cost for anything they are bundling, so these make way more sense for them than sizable discounts.
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    The penny pinching professional whining red tampons cannot add two single digit whole numbers together and get an answer they comprehend, so forget it.
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Any card for 120 as good as the nVidia 650ti out there ?

    How is just the card even at 140 not good bang for the buck ?

    It kills all eyefinity amd crap anywhere near that price point.

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