AMD has gone on the offensive against Nvidia and its GeForce Partner Program (GPP), an affiliate program that incentivizes hardware partners to align their gaming brands exclusively with GeForce in exchange for additional marketing support and other perks. In a new blog post, AMD appears to take several thinly veiled shots at Nvidia while promoting the importance of gamers having the "freedom to choose."
"Our proud pastime of PC gaming has been built on the idea of freedom. Freedom to choose. How to play the game. What to do and when to do it. And specifically, what to play it on," AMD said. "PC gaming has a long, proud tradition of choice. Whether you build and upgrade your own PCs, or order prebuilt rigs after you’ve customized every detail online, you know that what you’re playing on is of your own making, based on your freedom to choose the components that you want. Freedom of choice is a staple of PC gaming."
AMD went on to announce that its add-in board partners are getting ready to launch new brands for its Radeon series graphics cards. On the surface, it seems like a boiler plate announcement. But there's much more to it than that.
Why is this important? Kyle Bennett at HardOCP published an article last month that questioned whether GPP was anti-competitive. According to Bennett, companies told him off the record that they feared Nvidia would hold back allocation of GPUs if they chose not to participate.
"From all we have talked to, the issue of not allocating GPU inventories to non-GPP partners have not been spelled out contractually, but is rather done on a wink and not," Bennett said.
AMD shopped the article to Bennett (and other journalists), as it was clearly perturbed by GPP, and that notion is reinforced in today's blog post.
"Over the coming weeks, you can expect to see our add-in board partners launch new brands that carry an AMD Radeon product. AMD is pledging to reignite this freedom of choice when gamers choose an AMD Radeon RX graphics card. These brands will share the same values of openness, innovation, and inclusivity that most gamers take to heart. The freedom to tell others in the industry that they won’t be boxed in to choosing proprietary solutions that come bundled with 'gamer taxes' just to enjoy great experiences they should rightfully have access to. The freedom to support a brand that actively works to advance the art and science of PC gaming while expanding its reach," AMD added.
AMD also vowed "true transparency," which is another shot at GPP. Clearly AMD feels differently about GPP than Nvidia does, and as companies prepare to shuffle around their GPU brands, AMD wants to make sure gamers know it isn't going anywhere.
This has already started to happen. Asus earlier today unveiled a new Arez brand that it's attaching to Radeon cards, as it appears that its Republic of Gamers brand will align with Nvidia's products exclusively going forwards. In an email to PCWorld, AMD indicated that other AIBs will follow suit.
"Today, Asus announced its Arez-branded AMD Radeon RX graphics cards and over the coming weeks, you can expect to see more add-in board partners launch new brands carrying the AMD Radeon name," AMD said.
AMD never mentions GPP specifically, but with all the writing about freedom of choice and transparency, it's pretty easy to read between the lines. And really, getting ahead of the situation is probably AMD's smartest move. The new brands are an opportunity for AMD to promote its Radeon lineup, which ironically was made possible by GPP.
AMD added a video to drive its point home. Have a look: