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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  • arnavvdesai - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    I rather have single player games to be honest. These things barely count in terms of game content even with '25$' worth of stuff. Reply
  • A5 - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    Saying you prefer single-player games is fine, but saying these games don't have content is just silly. Anyone who likes BF3 should give PS2 a shot. It's not a bad game. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    While I agree these games are better than the average F2P made in the past, they are still F2P oriented. They are about inviting in casual players to play easy content; players who have little or no personal investment in the game and see nothing wrong with buying a piece of gear for real money. The word "earn" is sneered at, as well as the concept of "skill".

    And, I don't think the kind of player interested in these games is very unlikely to be interested in a GTX 660 or better. They play on their $500 computers with their $80 LCDs and are quite happy to do so. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it seems to me that the focus of this marketing is to provide the appearance of a bundle, but it is one that will get little use, meaning Nvidia won't be paying much for it. Looks to me like they are trying to save money rather than provide any real value.
    Reply
  • Broheim - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    I'm guessing you've never played planetside 2..

    there's nothing easy about planetside 2 and it's not all that casual gamer friendly, one of the biggest complaint newcomers have is that there's absolutely no handholding, you just get dropped into the biggest fight on the server and have to stand on your own two legs.

    there's also no pay2win, the two things you can only get using real money is camo/vanity stuff that doesn't really affect the gameplay and boosts that for a limited time increases your ressource or xp gain. All weapons can be bought using real money or ingame earned currency (called certs), upgrades to your weapons, class or vehicles (which is the really important stuff) can only be purchased with certs.

    imo ps2 takes more skill than, say, counter strike, because it's not just a matter of who's the twitchiest player. It's an open world with endless possiblities, tactics go way beyond just "you go this way and I'll go this way".

    also, good luck play planetside on your $500 computer, it's not gonna make for an enjoyable experience, my OC'ed 3770k and HD7950 has to work for it, even just on high settings.
    Reply
  • WeaselITB - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    I was going to echo a similar sentiment. I'm an avid player of both "casual" (lol) games like PlanetSide 2 and World of Tanks, as well as more "hardcore" (lol) games like BF3 or Far Cry 3.

    Sorry that I and my GTX 670 don't fit your supposed target demographic for this game, Sabresiberian.
    Reply
  • WeaselITB - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    Mind you, I'm not saying the *bundle* is a great deal, just saying that these aren't Farmville-esque F2P games ... Reply
  • Broheim - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    yeah the bundle is kind of silly if you ask me, I mean, if I were on the market for a new gpu I might give this a second thought because at this point I pretty much only play ps2, but very, very few people (more like nobody) will buy a nvidia card just because of this bundle.

    on the other hand, the people that do pick up up a new nvidia card will probably be more inclined to try out the games in the bundle so it's more of a win for the studios.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    But of course the clueless morons here can't figure... their brains stuck on slow or reverse as usual. Reply
  • hughlle - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    Funny, because while i agree about the advanced nature of the gameplay, my 2.4ghz q6600, 4gb of ram, and ati 4850 play it just fine and it looks great. Sure it could look better, like with say far cry 3, but it still looks just absolutely fantastic and is completely playable :) Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Thank you amd fanboy.
    Of course your amd card plays it great.
    Reply

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