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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  • thesavvymage - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    It would have been so cool if nVidia worked with other game devs to get their ingame cash accepted instead of these titles. I would have loved to have some for LoL or for character slots in GW2. Wouldve made the 660 a definite buy, although with those games they may have had to tone down the offers. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    I think NVIDIA partnered up with some game companies that are offering next-gen graphics so that the GTX offerings would be of some benefit. While GW2 certainly can tax a system to a moderate degree, LoL is known to be quite forgiving of hardware. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    "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."

    AMD seems to be putting a lot of uncertainty and doubt out there about this particular statement. They seem to want a lot of people to think nothing is coming until the end of the year...
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    I've been an advocate of Nvidia products and TWIMTBP for a long time...but this has to be an all-time low for the logo program. I'm pretty appalled Nvidia would call this a counter to AMD's stellar Never Settle Reloaded bundle.

    Just bundle $150 worth of Steam credit and call it a day Nvidia, it's a real reach to expect anyone to 1) actually be interested in this collection of F2P titles and 2) be interested in them long enough to punch in codes to redeem in-game cash.

    Can anyone who actually plays these games tell us if the currency is even worth anything on the open market like Ebay? If you can get $20 USD for $50 game-cash that'd be about the same payout for AAA titles bundled with graphics cards.
    Reply
  • TheJian - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    LOL...What NV is doing is inspiring sales while not losing money. What AMD is doing is adding yet another year of 1.8B in losses (NV's way makes you ~550mil).

    See the difference?

    Also, just a guess but if you choose not to use the in game crap, I think NV gets out of paying (more good management decisions), vs. game codes that cost AMD even if you don't play or sell it.

    Giving away AAA titles is stupid and a sign of desperation, which makes sense given they're trying to clear the shelves still after having paid ~750mil to GF in fines for not using enough wafers. This is not some biased comment here, this is simple math. AMD needs to kill the bundle or charge more for their cards. Otherwise, get ready for another billion dollar FY2013 loss. Meanwhile, NV adds 300mil/quarter to their cash pile. I'm guessing 3.8B cash this quarter up from 3.45B last quarter. Jen has said he wants the price war to stop and doesn't understand AMD's strategy. I don't either. Their actions only lead to bankruptcy or a weakening of their stock price/company value, which in turn kills R&D (hence the product delay).

    I expect NV to announce a delay to their cards in the Conf Call or shortly after as no AMD in your rear view mirror now so why push out your next version. Hence the easy Titan play to keep bringing in the cash on the top end while AMD bleeds at the bottom. This is just good business sense. Intel has acted the same way to AMD's failures on the cpu front. I'm confused as to why AMD keeps giving away profits, when Jen would gladly raise the price on everything he sells 10% if AMD gave him the chance. He openly said he'd like to make more money (he was talking personally about his stock at the time...LOL), but AMD persists with the death spiral pricing.

    Look at Intel. They're looking to raise ultrabooks to $1400 and many companies area complaining about haswell pricing. NV would like to do the same, but AMD keeps blocking it (cutting off your nose to spite your face no?). Clearly Intel ran away with the cpu race and AMD is forced to discount those. But they have excellent gpu's and should charge accordingly and stop giving games out. NV would be more than happy to match that strategy. They used to pocket $850Mil/FY before AMD went to war. Now $500mil with help from an Intel case victory. I like free games. But I'd much rather have TWO extremely STRONG gpu companies gunning for my dollar. At this rate, xmas 2014 it will be Intel vs. NV, not NV vs AMD. So basically we'll have ONE high end option and Intel crap option. Raise your hand again if you like free games, and remember that vote is a vote for AMD going out of business.

    They made a mistake spending R&D money on consoles that will have their sales plunging from phones, tablets, ouya, steambox, NV shield, Gamestop wikipad, etc etc taking revenue...I expect this gen's consoles to sell 1/2 to 3/4 what they did last round as other devices are "good enough" or will be better shortly after they debut. Steambox will be upgradable (so says Gabe N.), ouya is committed to yearly refresh (new tegra every year, which should catch consoles at tegra 5 or at least 6 a few years in), shield puts ultimate power on your tv via your PC already (which is vastly faster than next consoles) and there's more I'm leaving out here. The point is consoles have a LOT of competition for the TV time this round and most of that competition is ready to be re-spinning the gear yearly it seems.

    AMD should have just made a good GPU for desktop this year (& raised prices on that new gen) with the console R&D money. It would have been easier to use those wafers then instead of taking hit after hit and change the WSA :) They won't start bringing in money from consoles in a meaningful way for a year (and those sales will lag previous versions anyway), while the gpu refresh could be selling that entire time. Bad move AMD. What's that saying? A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush ;) You can consider Titan a 1/2 bird here...LOL, but still a bird nonetheless. Never settle should be re-named "we never should've done it" bundle.
    Reply
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    That whole rant would make a lot more sense if it wasn't for the fact the AMDs GPU division is actually making close to 100M$ yearly profit. It's the CPU division thats loosing money.

    Well, a little more sense. Please promise you won't become a villain bent on world domination just because all the other kids in economics class make fun of your theories, ok?
    Reply
  • TerdFerguson - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    I keep seeing folks trying to trade Dota 2 (a f2p game) keys for cash and prizes. Those people are douches. To my mind, NVidia's ploy isn't much better. Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    Yep, this is a joke. You are being trolled by Nvidia folks. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    For far too long, we heard here, how nVidia was 6 or 8 moths late to the game...
    Over and over amd was praised.... now this is what we get...

    " 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. "

    Oh, the same era... amd not over 1 year old WHICH IT IS.

    And.. nVidia the same now... as if release was same day, as older is now worse not better as in released first..

    I AM SO SICK OF THE LIES AND SPIN FOR AMD.
    Reply
  • qzyxya - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    I'm going to be playing some of the games, but I'll probably just want to sell them. $150 in in game money is kind of overkill for the average person.

    I wonder if you'll be able to trade it with steam or something somehow. Hopefully I won't just have to put it into my account and then not be able to do anything with it. Or else I might just sell the physical coupon or wahtever it is that has the codes and stuff.
    Reply

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