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article imageNVIDIA criticised for forcing people to log in to its gaming app

By James Walker     Sep 14, 2016 in Technology
NVIDIA has been criticised by customers after a recent overhaul of its graphics card software introduced mandatory logins to use the advanced features of its hardware. An account is now required for simple tasks like driver updates, to user discontent.
NVIDIA announced GeForce Experience 3.0 last week. The update is a complete rebuilding of the GeForce software. It includes an all-new "lightweight" interface, a built-in driver updater, integrated gameplay recording and sharing capabilities and the opportunity to participate in hardware giveaways. Tens of millions of gamers worldwide use the program, according to NVIDIA.
Despite appearing positive on the surface, the complete redesign hasn't been received well by everyone. As pointed out by PCWorld, NVIDIA has quietly introduced another change: mandatory registration to use the program. Previously, you could access GeForce Experience without signing-in, letting you use all its features with the social capabilities disabled. Now you can't so much as launch the app without being met with a login form.
Users have the option of signing in with Facebook, Google or NVIDIA accounts. Regardless of the one you choose, you still need a valid email address and online access to register the software. Without it activated, you can’t use any of its features, including the automatic driver update utility. You can still get the drivers outside of GeForce Experience on NVIDIA's website but you won't be alerted when new versions are released.
NVIDIA GeForce Experience 3.0 official images
NVIDIA GeForce Experience 3.0 official images
The Consumerist asked NVIDIA why registration is now compulsory. The company sent back a vague explanation, stating the features of the program. "Users with an account can take advantage of the latest GeForce Experience release features including GameStream pairing, Share technology, and more, as well as random prizes and giveaways," NVIDIA said. "They can also leave feedback directly within the application as well."
The statement doesn't elaborate on why an account is required to get the full potential from hardware costing hundreds of dollars. The real reason for the change is obvious upon opening the program, however: marketing. The new interface includes an elaborate splash screen that highlights NVIDIA news, partner announcements and game releases. It looks as though NVIDIA wants people to sign-up so it can target individuals with these promotional elements.
NVIDIA GeForce Experience 3.0 official images
NVIDIA GeForce Experience 3.0 official images
NVIDIA says it never shares personal data directly with partners. Game publishers, business affiliates and resellers can access aggregate data about gameplay statistics and platform usage. In return, targeted ads are displayed to the user. NVIDIA said that "multiple layers" of security are in place to protect users, insisting it is "fully compliant" with federal and local privacy regulations. Even so, it's not what current GeForce gamers are used to and it's not necessarily what purchasers of $500 graphics cards will be expecting.
Customers who don't want to participate in NVIDIA's new advertising scheme can choose not to use GeForce Experience. Driver updates can be found on NVIDIA's website while rival sharing and streaming services are in plentiful supply. The most popular PC gaming networks already include their own alternatives to GeForce Experience, although they don't come with support for NVIDIA-specific GPU features.
NVIDIA said it welcomes feedback on GeForce Experience 3.0, although it'll doesn't look like it'll be reversing its mandatory login policy anytime soon. It first announced the change back in October 2015.
More about Nvidia, nvidia geforce, geforce, geforce experience, Gaming
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