About a year ago, NVIDIA quietly put everyone on notice. If you wanted the latest drivers and the latest updates to their GeForce Experience middleware program, you'd have to register an account. Simply forking out for a NVIDIA GPU wasn't enough; you had to hand over some of your details.
GeForce Experience has quietly motored on since then, but could be about to change. NVIDIA has rolled out an update to the beta branch of the software that completely overhauls the user interface and the way the ShadowPlay/Share software is packaged. And if you want any of it, you'll have to login.
Credit where credit's due: the new GeForce Experience menu looks really nice. Instead of the tabs at the top for Games, Drivers, My Rig, Preferences and the NVIDIA SHIELD, everything's been crimped into two tabs for Games and drivers.
The ShadowPlay recording has been rolled into a single service called "Share", which is accessible through the not-entirely-recognisable icon in the top right that's a little reminiscent of the Unity logo. It's a triangle instead of the Unity cube, but you get the idea.
When you open up the Share tab, you get a fullscreen overlay rather than a separate window. (For those wondering, my desktop background is from the excellent galleries on Dead End Thrills.)
It's a little more convoluted from the way ShadowPlay is currently organised. And while it's nice to have all the features rolled into one, I can imagine some gamers would prefer having it all pop up in a separate window rather than a Steam or Windows 10 DVR-style overlay.
But being forced to create an account before you can optimise, stream or record your games will grate some gamers the wrong way. I tried using the software without logging in, but to no avail. NVIDIA does try to simplify the registration process by letting users link their Google account, but if you're antsy about having to hand over your personal information after already handing over hundreds of dollars, that's not going to placate you.
It's a bit of a shame. The update is the first real overhaul of GeForce Experience's UI and visuals, and it looks real good. The layout of the Share menu will take a little getting used to, but people will undoubtedly learn fairly quick. After all, it's a lot easier to register for an NVIDIA account than recording through Open Broadcaster Software.