Intel Selling $50 Code to Unlock Gimped Processor’s Power
Seemingly taking a cue from the video game industry’s long-standing practice of selling unlock codes and downloadable content, Intel is experimenting with selling codes for deliberately gimped processors that would unlock their full power once the unlock code is applied.
For $50, the unlock code will download some software that will unlock some of the cache and hyperthreading capabilities on Intel’s new low-end Pentium G6951 processor. The code simply downloads and applies software, which means the features being unlocked already come built into the processor.
Considering the content actually comes on the disc and developers are forcing gamers to pay extra to unlock something for which they’ve already paid, this business model has been enraging gamers for a while now. It’s one thing to offer extra content, but many people feel it’s not exactly an admirable practice to put that extra content on the product people have already bought, then make them buy it again.
The processor world isn’t necessarily going to be swept away in gimped hardware and unlock codes: Intel is only trying this experiment with one processor at the moment and doesn’t have any officially announced plans to deploy the business model across the rest of their line of processors. It’s a real thing, though, and may become a prominent practice for Intel in the future.