NVIDIA have pushed forward something called the Green Light program, which is a certification process that is designed to ensure that GPUs meet specific requirements, reports the Bright Side of News.
The Green Light program requires vendors to send in their board designs to NVIDIA, where they wait for their approval from the GPU maker. NVIDIA will check that the design meets their noise, power, voltage and heat numbers - and if it meets them, the card is approved. If not, it is declined and they'll have to resubmit.
What happens if a partner doesn't submit their card for approval? Well, they can have their GPU warranty and BIOS support removed, or worse - they could have their allocation of GPUs from NVIDIA cut down, or stopped completely.
NVIDIA aren't just putting their foot down when it comes to hardware, as software will have the same rules enforced onto it. Vendors are now restricted by allowing certain software to be bundled by the cards, with an example being MSI's unlocked BIOS with high voltage in their Afterburner software suite. NVIDIA was not happy with this, and asked MSI to immediately remove the feature.
So, we know what happens to partners and vendors of NVIDIA - but what about you, the consumer? Well, it will eventually lead to less options between their cards, and it will also limit the innovation partners can push in their products. We will most likely see the disappearance of highly-clocked cards, or cards that can really be pushed past a certain speed.
I think this will end up as a slippery slope, and could lead to two possible futures: first, a future with way less product choices, with mostly reference, or just above reference clocked GPUs. Secondly, the end of overclocking as we know it - if NVIDIA start now, and then ramp back with "no more than 10% allowed out of the box", six months later "no more than 5% out of the box", and then "if you overclock you lose warranty", and finally - no overclocking, and provide a pure NVIDIA experience - this could well be in our futures.
Even if it doesn't seem so now, things can change very quickly in this industry.