When Nvidia announced its GeForce Partner Program (GPP) just a few short weeks ago, the company pitched it as being beneficial to consumers, saying it would "ensure that gamers have full transparency into the GPU platform and software they're being sold." A controversy ensued, however, and now Nvidia is pulling the plug on the program.
To quickly recap how things got to this point, the program aimed to incentivize Nvidia's hardware partners to align their gaming brands exclusively with GeForce products. In exchange, Nvidia would provide a host of perks, including early access to products and enhanced marketing support.
Nvidia stressed that the program wasn't exclusive and that its partners could continue to sell and promote any products they wanted.
"Partners choose to sign up for the program, and they can stop participating any time. There’s no commitment to make any monetary payments or product discounts for being part of the program," Nvidia stated in a blog post announcing the program.
Where things started to go off the rails is when Kyle Bennett at HardOCP published an investigative report on the program, one that called into the question Nvidia's intentions and the purported benefits of the program. AMD actually shopped the story to HardOCP (and other outlets), and while there didn't appear to be anything unsavory at first glance, Kyle said he dug up some concerning information after speaking with several potential partners.
The biggest concern, according to Kyle, was that companies feared Nvidia would hold back allocation of GPUs if they chose not to participate, even though that wasn't part of the terms. "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 a nod," Kyle said.
Once news of the program spread, including the controversial aspects, AMD used it as a rallying call for its own GPUs under the banner of "Freedom of Choice."
Nvidia's program wasn't around long enough to gain any major traction, though we did see where things were going. For example, Asus unveiled a new Arez brand for AMD's Radeon cards, presumably because it was going to attach its Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand exclusively with GeForce products, as the program would have required.
This brings us back to today's announcement.
"A lot has been said recently about our GeForce Partner Program. The rumors, conjecture and mistruths go far beyond its intent. Rather than battling misinformation, we have decided to cancel the program," Nvidia said in a new blog post (opens in new tab) on the matter.
Nvidia maintains that the goal with GPP was simply to ensure that gamers knew exactly what they were buying, and that "most partners agreed" to participate. However, Nvidia is scrapping the program in an effort to "avoid any distraction from the super exciting work we're doing to bring amazing advances to PC gaming."
In short (too late), GPP is officially dead.