Players must retain their free will. It is in these words that we could summarize the whole of the press release written by Scott Herkelman (CEO of Radeon Technologies Group ) and sent by AMD to the entire specialized press.
A communication which, when one reads between the lines, explicitly refers to the fact that the designer of the graphic cards Radeon considers to be threatened and / or injured by the last commercial program for the partner brands set up by Nvidia, the GeForce Partner Program . This program has been running a lot of news for several weeks because some of its lines are close to anti-competitiveness.
AMD’s only alternative to stay in the running, be visible in catalogs and, therefore, appeal to its usual partners to create ranges dedicated to its own products.
Asus, first partner to waltz with AMD
The first to open the ball is none other than Asus with its new AREZ product family. This will be entirely dedicated to AMD graphics cards. Twenty models are already announced, of which only two in RX Vega 56 and 64 .
No prices announced but availability is scheduled for the month of May. Note that all embarked on custom ventilation systems and it is highly likely that the components are all vitaminized to gain a few frames per second more compared to the “basic” models.
Graphics cards to start but it’s a safe bet that other products using AMD gaming technologies – like FreeSync screens for example or laptops with Ryzen processors and / or Radeon graphics cards – also join this ecosystem later.
We can therefore imagine that Asus’s ROG (Republic of Gamer) brand could gradually be dedicated only to components and configurations based on Nvidia solutions. Why ? But to be eligible for the GeForce Partner Program, pardi.
The GeForce Partner Program is controversial
At the beginning of March this year, Nvidia posted a message about GeForce Partner Program (GPP) on his official blog . This new commercial initiative is described as a way to offer its partners ways to promote its creations. Its motto ? ” Allow players to have a clear view of what they buy, both in terms of components and software platform and have all the benefits [of the brand] GeForce “.
However, according to AMD, this program is close to anti-competitiveness and does not allow it to work in good intelligence with brands. This is in any case what some representatives of the brand told the site HardOCP (HOCP) a few weeks ago.
Confidences that led to an investigation by our fellow journalists. Yet, still in the Nvidia blog post, it says ” the GPP is not exclusive. Our partners can continue to promote and sell the products of other brands. They can join and leave the program when they wish . ”
In the course of their investigations, HOCP journalists initially had difficulty in obtaining precise information since, on all the brands requested by them (seven in all), none wished to express themselves officially. All testimonials or opinions collected by the site have been anonymously to avoid possible complications, both for them and their society.
By crossing the information provided by these sources, HOCP would for example have confirmed that the PC manufacturers adhering to the GPP would benefit from joint promotional operations (contests on social networks, dual visibility, etc.), promotional packs (free game offers or discount coupon on Nvidia products) and discounts on massive card purchases. Even funds for advertising campaigns for example. So far, everything seems almost normal.
But, by pushing further its investigations, the site HOCP would have found that Nvidia is much less flexible than he wants to show through his blog post.
According to a document obtained by one of the journalists of the site, the partners wishing to integrate the GPP would be forced to compose their range dedicated to gaming exclusively with Nvidia cards or solutions “. To put it simply, if a range of products – ROG in the case of Asus for example – offers both Radeon and GeForce, it can not claim to be part of the GPP. Only solution, create a new range of products, dedicated to AMD solutions to continue to sell the latter without being potentially injured yes shunned by Nvidia.
No membership, less GPU?
In addition, through the interviews conducted by HOCP, it also appeared to them that some partners felt that not adhering to the GPP could – in the medium or long term – disadvantage them commercially. Indeed, Nvidia could very well decide to deliver less graphics cards or laptop chips to them because they did not join the GPP. Of course, Nvidia has publicly refuted all these accusations.
Nvidia dominates the market, AMD remains (very) feverish
From our point of view, such behavior – or even such practices – on the part of the green designer would remain strange to say the least. But not unthinkable. And if all this happened despite the denial, that would tarnish the image of the brand enormously with an audience she cherishes so much, players and enthusiasts, able to spend crazy money to have the best card or best PC at a moment ‘t’.
Because, today, the GeForce – and by extension, Nvidia – are clearly in a strong position in the graphics card segment, both in office PCs and laptops for more than two years now. Green graphics cards are simple, they are everywhere. And even when PC vendors advertise in their catalogs that AMD configurations will be commercially available, they are rarely found on the shelf. Not to mention being able, at our level, to test them.
It is also very clear that AMD is struggling to come up with competitive solutions that could undermine the virtual monopoly of Nvidia. The Vega RX for desktop PCs did not convince us, just like Polaris chips of the Radeon RX 400 that AMD recycles and renames since their release, two years ago. If we trust the ads CES 2018 , the red designer has nothing planned for nine again this year.
With a program like the GPP, the designer GeForce probably tries to sit a little more dominance. Or, to anticipate very clumsily the next movement of AMD. Still, if AMD managed (finally?) To release good GPUs, able to beat the Nvidia solutions, there is no doubt that the PC industry would change its rifle. shoulder. It has almost always been so.
At present, our feeling is this: for AMD to continue to be present at least in catalogs or in machines, it must play a card more than used by him, that of affordable or broken . A cheaper chip can create – in fine – an affordable PC for a brand. Or a custom graphic card at a lower cost.
But if the power is not there and that, for a few euros more, opt for a Nvidia solution is the assurance of having a more powerful PC, more able to cash the needs of current and future games, many players will probably not hesitate for a long time. GPP or not.