For years, component vendors have offered free games as incentives to get people to buy their products. Want a motherboard? Well, this one comes with a copy of 'Doom', are you sold on it yet? Anway, as this has become common practice, there has also grown a tendency for people to sell in those bundled promotional game keys. Nvidia now is looking to put a stop to that by tying them to a specific graphics card purchase.
So how it worked in the past is that retailers sent promo game codes to customers that purchased a qualifying product. Those codes would be redeemed on Nvidia's website, which would then give users another code for the relevant game store (Steam, Uplay, Origin, Microsoft Store, etc.). Since those promotional codes weren't tied to an account, many users have taken to selling them on in order to offset the cost of the graphics card purchase. However, now Nvidia has changed this.
Now those initial codes have to be redeemed via the GeForce Experience (GFE) app – which is directly linked to users' Steam/Uplay/whatever account – and the app checks that the requisite graphics card is already installed by performing "a hardware verification step to ensure the coupon code is redeemed on the system with the qualifying GPU".
Nvidia has clarified though that while the GFE app does check the ensure a user has installed a qualifying graphics card such as a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 (I would say Titan X, but if you can afford one of those you probably aren't bothered by free game codes), the game is not permanently linked to the hardware. The redemption process permanently adds the game to the third-party service. So in principle you could get a graphics card, install said graphics card, redeem the bundled game, and then chuck the graphics card out – if you were into that sort of thing.
This isn't the first time that a vendor has had to put measures in place when it comes to promo codes. Microsoft was forced to revoke codes for 'Gears of War 4' last year when an Amazon loophole allowed users to order a GTX 1070, receive the promotional code, and then cancel the order.
These new terms and conditions for promotional codes popped up in its lates bundle that offers users with a choice of 'For Honor' or 'Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands' with the purchase of a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080.