Nvidia's Game Ready Drivers will soon be locked behind GeForce Experience

GeForce Experience

Nvidia's "Game Ready Drivers" are GeForce display drivers that have been optimized for new game releases. If you took part in the Star Wars Battlefront beta, for instance, you may have had to install a driver update before it would run. Right now, there are two ways to do so: You can hop into the GeForce Experience software that's humming away quietly in your Windows taskbar, or you can pop over to Nvidia's driver download page and snag the latest update directly. But soon, according to PC World, that second option will be a thing of the past.

Nvidia will still release new drivers through its website, but they'll be restricted to quarterly updates for things like bug fixes and major new features. The more frequent Game Ready Driver releases, which as we saw with Battlefront are sometimes non-optional, will only be available through GeForce Experience, to those who have a registered account with Nvidia.

"We kind of have two camps in terms of gamers. 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," Nvidia's Sean Pelletier explained. "On the other side of the equation you have the 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. That's obviously the demographic we're looking at for Game Ready drivers. We're targeting GFE [GeForce Experience] as a single-source destination for those gamers."

Nvidia said that more than 90 percent of GeForce owners update their drivers through GeForce Experience anyway, so the practical effect of the change, in theory, should be minimal. But the obvious question is, why take away the option at all? The answer would appear to be that Nvidia is broadening the functionality of GeForce Experience with features like improved streaming, PC gaming news, and early game access, and wants to ensure that its customer base is all-in, whether it wants to be or not.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.