I’ve been a long time NVIDIA user, my last few computers and laptops have all been powered by NVIDIA graphic cards. My current laptop is a couple years old now, and runs the NVIDIA GeForce GT740M. One of the first things I install on a new computer running NVIDIA is the GeForce Experience (GFE) app which lets you optimize your games (not that I do a lot of PC gaming), game stream and capture on compatible cards, but most importantly – for me anyways – is it also allows you to auto-update your video card drivers.
Yesterday I sat down to do some work and noticed the yellow exclamation mark on my GFE tray icon indicating an update was available. I clicked on it, as usual, saw that a driver update was available, and clicked on the custom installation button, as usual, and much to my chagrin I was confronted with a pop up box requesting that I register before downloading and installing the driver.
Furthermore, there was no way to skip registration, and NVIDIA was also asking for my date of birth. Oh, and don’t even think about using a fake email address as NVIDIA sends a verification email with a link that you need to click on before you can proceed to download the driver through GFE.
Giving NVIDIA the benefit of the doubt, I headed to Google to see if there was a reasonable explanation to this. According to a PC World article from a few weeks ago, NVIDIA states that a “mid-to-high 90 percent” of its users already use the GeForce Experience, and I can understand why. It’s super easy and convenient to use, especially when downloading drivers with a single click. So why the sudden need to have its users login to download said drivers?
“We kind of have two camps in terms of gamers,” NVIDIA’s Sean Pelletier told journalists recently. “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.”
“On the other side of the equation you have enthusiast gamers, who get excited about preloading a game, who want to play a game the day it comes out with all the bells and whistles,” he continued. “That’s obviously the demographic we’re looking at for Game Ready drivers. We’re targeting GFE as a single-source destination for those gamers.”
So… the way I see it, NVIDIA has arbitrarily decided that their gaming user base is more important than their average users. Granted these are “Game Ready” drivers, but I don’t see an option for “regular” video card drivers from NVIDIA, and even a visit to NVIDIA’s driver page turns up the same “Game Ready” driver for my video card as the GFE does. Now here’s the thing, you can download the same “Game Ready” driver off their website as you can get through GFE, but instead of opening an app and getting a one-click install, you have to go to the site, hit the drivers page, select your card (which is four drop down boxes), select search, select the driver, and agree to their terms before you can finally download the driver… for a total of, oh at least 8 clicks.
I’ve also noticed a few of these “Game Ready” drivers also have other fixes and updates as well, so it’ll be interesting to see how NVIDIA pushes those out for the average non-gaming user. Maybe they just expect them to be fine with the default drivers that come with their systems. While I can see some users wondering why they’re having to update so often, perhaps NVIDIA should give users the option of classifying themselves as a gamer who wants the more frequent “Game Ready” versions or as a regular/business user who wants the updates that fix issues that can crop up from time to time in other software they run.
Even still, and maybe I’m just missing something here, but gamer or not, I still see no benefit in requiring a user to download an updated driver for a video card they use. Oh, and I still don’t know why you need my date of birth NVIDIA, hope your stats department likes the fact that a 101-year old is updating his drivers through the GFE!
What do you think about NVIDIA’s decision to require people to login to download their drivers through GFE? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.Source: PC World