If there's one thing that NVIDIA proved to us loud and clear during 2012, it's that it loves free-to-play PC gaming. But who could blame them? When the idea of F2P first hit the market, most of the games felt free - but not in a good way. But today, many F2P offerings are just as meaty as those you might pay $50 for at their launch. Then there's the graphics. HAWKEN, Planetside 2 and World of Tanks in particular support NVIDIA's hardware well and look awesome, so it's understandable that the company would like to help promote them.
Citing the fact that over 36 million users surveyed through Valve's Steam platform don't hit the minimum requirements for either of those three games, NVIDIA is offering an incentive to upgrade. Those who purchase a GeForce GTX 650 or GTX 650 Ti will receive $25 in-game credit each one of these three games, and those that opt for the GTX 660 or higher will have that boosted to $50 per. Not convinced these games matter? Here are a couple of in-game screenshots:
World of Tanks
As interesting as this bundle might be, I do feel that it comes at a bad time. AMD last week introduced its "Never Settle Reloaded" bundle which offers gamers the ability to get at least 2 compelling blockbuster titles for free with the purchase of an HD 7800 or higher. By contrast, NVIDIA's promoting "free-to-play" games which are clearly not "free" given the fact that the company's giving you credit to use in them. I don't feel like NVIDIA's offer is nearly as compelling as AMD's, although to NVIDIA's advantage, AMD doesn't give anything to those who only purchase a $100 Radeon.
Making matters worse, this campaign seems a bit rushed on NVIDIA's part. While we were told that gamers can take part in this promotion at "select e-tailers", we were not given a list, nor were we even given a timeline of how long the promotion lasts. We're not even sure where to tell you to look for the promotion, and NVIDIA's own site, along with its gamer-oriented GeForce.com, make no mention of the promotion at all.
If you're interested in this promotion, we recommend making sure that the e-tailer you're buying from makes mention of it on the page. At the time of writing, no e-tailer I checked did, so it might take some time for the roll-out to take place. Just keep a keen eye, and more sure you don't miss out on your credits!