For years people have happily gone through NVIDIA's site to get the latest and greatest drivers for their Big Green cards. New beta? Time to get a new driver. Major AAA release? There's a new driver. The GeForce Experience application made it a little easier to keep track of proceedings, although it wasn't always great and sometimes resulted in some software conflicts.
But if you want to keep downloading the latest Game Ready drivers into the future, you'll have to have GeForce Experience installed — and you'll have to give your email over to the GPU manufacturer, too.
The change was first picked up by PC World, who reported that Game Ready drivers will require NVIDIA's middleware and a verified email from "sometime in mid-December". Some updates will still be available directly through the website (or, God forbid, Windows Update), but those will be released every quarter and won't be anywhere near as frequent as those available through GFE.
Sean Pelletier, a senior product manager at NVIDIA, reportedly told a group of journalists that the company was dealing with roughly two groups. "On one hand you have the gamer that’s just casually playing things here and there, using their system for daily use and gaming on the side. They don’t want to be inundated with these [Game Ready] drivers," Pelletier is quoted as saying.
A post on NVIDIA's blog, and a release sent to Australian press, confirmed the report. "The next time you download a driver, enter a verified email address at the prompt to get first access to Game Ready Drivers, news and announcements, and prizes and game codes," NVIDIA says on their site.
It's a slightly strange move considering NVIDIA's marketing pitch — and much of the way GFE is designed — is about giving gamers options. This move does precisely the opposite: it forces you into the GFE ecosystem, which, particularly if you're a Twitch streamer or have a YouTube channel and a bone to pick with NVIDIA's middleware, may not be a place you want to be.