GeForce Experience 3.0 beta puts games front and center

Nvidia's GeForce Experience is probably a utility familiar to many a PC gamer by now. At least on my Nvidia-equipped PCs, the software helpfully reminds me when a new driver update comes down the pipe, but I don't really do much else with it. The company's next version of GeForce Experience, version 3.0, is in beta now, so I figured I'd give it a shot and see whether this software has what it takes to earn a pin to my notification area.

The first I noticed upon firing up the beta version of GFE is that Nvidia appears to require an account to use the app this time around. Past versions of GFE could be used without any kind of registration, but it appears version 3.0 is where we'll begin seeing Nvidia's long-promised move to restrict access to its Game Ready drivers to registered users. Initial reports suggested this restriction would arise in December of last year, but I never had any problems grabbing Game Ready drivers from the older version of the app without an account in the meantime.

With an Nvidia account duly created, I was able to get into the main GeForce Experience app. The main screen of version 3.0 is a lot simpler than past versions of GFE. The "Home" tab now serves as an album-like list of all of the games on one's system, whether they reside in Steam, Origin, Uplay, or some other digital storefront. Mousing over each game's box art reveals a "Play" button and a "Details" button. Clicking "Play" launches the game's associated service and the game itself. I tried this feature with games from Steam, Origin, and Uplay, and each title launched without a hitch.

The "Details" view for each title takes over the job the "Games" tab used to do in older versions of GFE. Here, Nvidia pulls in the list of current settings for each game and presents a list of settings it believes to be optimal for that title. Mousing over each graphics option helpfully shows a brief tooltip on a screenshot of the game that explains what changing that setting should do to the gameplay experience. Nvidia's optimal settings can be toggled on with one click, but the reverse isn't true—be careful of enabling those new settings if you have a carefully-crafted group of graphics options for a particular game that you don't want to lose.

Clicking the "Share" icon in the title bar brings up the software features Nvidia first released in September of last year. Veteran Open Broadcaster Software or Twitch users probably won't want to bother with these features, but Share looks like a quick route to Twitch or YouTube streaming for folks who just want to get their feet wet. The software offers a pretty wide-ranging yet straightforward interface for its streaming features, to my inexperienced eye. Share also provides controls for GameStream Co-op and Shadowplay game recording.

I'm a bit chafed by Nvidia's mandatory user account requirement, but this third version of GeForce Experience is otherwise fast, polished, and easy to use once you've offered your personal information up to the cloud gods. If this utility is the only route to getting Nvidia's Game Ready drivers in the future, it at least makes itself useful by putting all of your games in one place and making it easy to launch them, regardless of their host storefronts. If you own a GeForce graphics card, expect to see GFE 3.0 roll out to your system sometime in the coming months.

Comments closed
    • NTMBK
    • 3 years ago

    This is nothing to do with selling GPUs, and all about pulling you into the Nvidia ecosystem, so they can sell you a streaming subscription. They want you to play your games on NVidia servers in “the cloud”.

    • Umbral
    • 3 years ago

    The Share components screw with Media Center on Win7 – it wont even launch. At least the beta uninstalls clean.

    • anotherengineer
    • 3 years ago

    [url<]https://www.techpowerup.com/223927/nvidia-geforce-experience-gets-ui-update-wont-work-without-login[/url<] lame indeed Are they going W10 on their users?

    • XTF
    • 3 years ago

    I don’t like the blown-up mobile-like UI of 3.0 at all…

    • Krogoth
    • 3 years ago

    Nvidia, you have gone full retard.

    Geforce Experience was a good idea to it easier for novice users to play PC games without getting all too confused by all the fancy “advanced” options. The best part was that it is [b<]optional[/b<]. Trying to force it down your customers throats and use it a way getting into "front-end" etailers wars is going to end in disaster. Please stop it now before you end-up killing off your hard-earned mindshare. Don't end-up meeting the same fate as 3DFX.

      • slate0
      • 3 years ago

      Hey, I just don’t have time to f around with my settings all day. I’m not confused at all: I understand that I have better things to do with my time, so I let GFE get things close and I move on with life.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    This is just the worst idea ever.

    Well, not ever, but locking driver updates behind an account wall is just beyond ridiculous. I don’t want this.

      • Meadows
      • 3 years ago

      Keep in mind that this is for “game ready” drivers only, which are those drivers that contain special sauce for brand new games immediately upon the games’ release.

      You will not need this for the “regular” drivers which should appear at least once every 3 months (according to NVidia/Ars), and should be cumulative anyway. Add in the fact that “game ready” drivers almost never fix actual issues and just improve performance by a few percentage points here and there, and you should see why life as we know it will carry on.

        • Ninjitsu
        • 3 years ago

        On the contrary game ready drivers may indeed have fixed some issues in the past, if people on the internet are to be believed.

          • Meadows
          • 3 years ago

          I can’t recall a single such occurence. Only performance tweaks as far as I can remember.

          One of the more important examples in recent memory was the Witcher 3 driver update for GTX 600 series cards, but that was also for a slight performance increase and not to fix any actual bugs or anything.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        I know, but if you’re playing one of those games, now you have to sign up for another account and let another company monitor you. It’s getting way old.

          • travbrad
          • 3 years ago

          NSA should just share all the data with every company. At least we wouldn’t have to have a million accounts for no reason then.

        • Andrew Lauritzen
        • 3 years ago

        I don’t see how that changes things at all frankly. If there’s a fix or optimization in a driver for a game I’m playing and I need an account to get it, that’s stupid. Why is it legit to withhold *any* driver fixes/optimizations behind an account login?

        Furthermore what about the other GFE features like shadow play, etc? Why should I need an account to use those?

          • NTMBK
          • 3 years ago

          Screenshotted for future reference, in case Intel decides to follow suit 🙂

    • dikowexeyu
    • 3 years ago

    I was seriously considering buying the 1070 after the 480 failed so miserably…

    But I will not buy anything unless nVidia GUARANTEES that no login will EVER be required.

    I stay on Windows 7 because I don’t trust Windows 10 spyware, so I will NEVER risk buying hardware that requires logins, or may download/install software without my permission.

      • curtisb
      • 3 years ago

      GFE is an optional piece of software you can choose not to install.

        • Rand
        • 3 years ago

        True, but they’ve said they’ll be locking non-WHQL drivers behind it.
        So while optional there is definitely a strong push to ensure everyone has it.

          • MatthiasF
          • 3 years ago

          Is this serious? They will not share even just the simple driver downloads without registration?

          What the hell. I literally just swapped to Nvidia with my 980 and now they are going to force me back to AMD with this one ridiculous policy.

          And I’m not talking just for personal use. We made the swap at work too with my input.

            • slowriot
            • 3 years ago

            You can only get the “game ready” drivers via GFE. Which given how many games need those drivers for stability/performance reasons on launch these days… they’v effectively put their drivers behind a login wall.

            • Ninjitsu
            • 3 years ago

            What games do you folks play at work? 😛

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      480 didn’t failed. It is working as intended by disrupting the $149-$199 segment. 1060 and price cuts on 970 and 980 are direct responses to this.

      480 was never meant to go after 1070 and 1080. The leaked specs made it painfully obvious.

      • slate0
      • 3 years ago

      I’m sure it will be absolutely /impossible/ to get these drivers in any other way…. rolls eyes

    • Rand
    • 3 years ago

    The full screen takeover just to adjust basic streaming settings is incredibly annoying, why is this a thing?
    I’m quite certain GeForce experience settings aren’t so important that they need to prevent me from multitasking. Especially when those settings are now less comprehensive and flexible then they were before.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    NOPE.

    100% disagree.

    GFE 3.0 can DIAF along with several other completely marketing-department-driven stillborn ideas. If this utility is the only route to getting Nvidia’s Game Ready drivers in the future, Nvidia can go [i<]d[/i<]uck themselves.

    • Sabresiberian
    • 3 years ago

    The only benefit I can see to providing an account is so I can get cloud saves of my game preferences. I’m okay with this, it could become useful if I had a major failure and all my games had custom settings I would have to re-configure, or I installed a game on a different computer and wanted to quickly and easily carry over the settings. I didn’t have a problem creating an account for Steam and don’t see why I should be concerned with Nvidia requiring some kind of account either – as long as there is a good reason for it, one that benefits me.

    But as far as I’m aware Nvidia hasn’t said anything about cloud saves or given any other reason an account for GE is going to make my experience better. Without reasons that make sense, we’ll make up our own, and they likely won’t be favorable to Nvidia.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 3 years ago

    So… it crashed. Downloaded GFE from nVidia.com and got the old version again.

    Can’t say I’m surprised. It’s probably for the best, too. I barely use it anyway.

      • DancinJack
      • 3 years ago

      Did you use the beta page? Everything worked swimmingly for me…

      [url<]http://www.geforce.com/geforce-experience/gfe-beta[/url<]

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 3 years ago

        Kudos for use of the word, “swimmingly.”

        I reinstalled the old GFE, remembered how Steam and the Logitech Software sometimes interferes with GFE, disabled them (and Google Music for good measure), clicked off Chrome, and attempted to install GFE 3.0 again.

        It worked this time after a required reboot. It’s alright.

        At least it stays logged in now. Before, I’d log into GFE (2.0) and it would be logged out the next time I pulled it up. And every single time I’d have to dig out my password for it.

        Now I logged in once and it’s stayed logged in across multiple boots.

        The UI is quite obviously a work in progress. There is a spot for avatar pics, but no way that I can see to change inside the GFE program. It just looks like a solution in a mad search for a problem to solve.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]If you own a GeForce graphics card, expect to see GFE 3.0 roll out to your system sometime in the coming months.[/quote<] NEVER!

    • fellix
    • 3 years ago

    Hmm, an account requirement for a device driver download? Now, who did that last time… oh, yeah Creative Labs, 15 years ago, though back then you had to register your graphics card unique ID also.

    I hope the next step doesn’t involve some form of payment. I mean the size and the complexity of the driver package now rivals that of Windows XP, if you get the hint.

    • odizzido
    • 3 years ago

    An account is required? Nope.

    • Freon
    • 3 years ago

    I’m not going to log in to use my video card.

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      In Soviet Russia, frame time log YOU!

      • MatthiasF
      • 3 years ago

      Same reason I do not use Razor’s software. Why is any of this necessary besides to track us?

        • brucethemoose
        • 3 years ago

        For Razer Surround, I just go offline and block it in my firewall.

        • Visigoth
        • 3 years ago

        Paranoid, much? The tinfoil hat section is over at 4chan… :-/

          • GrimDanfango
          • 3 years ago

          It’s your business if you’re perfectly happy to sign up for yet *another* entirely pointless account, set up yet *another* entirely pointless password you have to either remember, store in a password manager, or keep the same as every other password (and increase the likelihood that hackers will get hold of your universal password by hacking this or some other of the hundreds of pointless accounts you’re forced to set up).
          It’s your business if you’re not only happy to jump through arbitrary hoops for every company who tells you to, but to gladly hand over more and more of your personal details to them all, because you’re convinced they’re not going to do anything with it.

          But please… could you and every other fool out there STOP trotting out the sad, willfully ignorant “huhuhu, tinfoil hats!” line?
          Our personal privacy is OUR business, and it helps considerably to discuss it openly on public forums.

          It is not paranoia – it’s just you belittling people for taking an interest in the blatant data-harvesting we’re expected to lap up without complaint.

          Certainly feel free to simply ignore us though.

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            Seconding this.

            • USAFTW
            • 3 years ago

            +100

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