MSI received a lot of heat on its Facebook page with PC enthusiasts that created more problem than good when it addresses the problem concerning AMD Radeon. It was unsettling for PC enthusiasts as the question branches out of Nvidia’s GeForce Partner Program written by Kyle Bennet. Companies like Asus, Aorus and Gigabyte make motherboards and graphics cards. Therefore, for enthusiasts, it becomes important to know a company’s stance. It is a worthy read as it would be concerning for a community that’s hardwired with the DIY PC enthusiast community. To quote a line from an article:
There is no doubt that NVIDIA GPP has some striking similarities to what Intel has done in the past that has been deemed “anticompetitive conduct” by the Federal Trade Commision. We would not be surprised to see regulators in the US, Europe, and Asia want to take a closer look at GPP as well.
The story of Nvidia GeForce ‘Partnership’ Program
Kyle Benett of HardOCP has written an investigation report talking about the controversial program by Nvidia where they will give additional perks to its AIB partners if they align their gaming-centric brand (ROG for Asus, AORUS for Gigabyte and few others) with them exclusively. This would mean that its sub-brands/series which has graphics from both Nvidia and AMD Radeon will have to ditch the latter. AIB partners are concerned because if they refuse to do so, Nvidia would stifle its allocation of discrete graphics chips (or the best set of chips perfect for factory overclocked GPUs). This is bad in either case. Damn if you as you cannot push AMD Radeon even if and when at some point they have a great performance-per-watt and price, availability and other such factors. Damn if you don’t, you will get the least possible amount of chips from Nvidia and you sell lesser graphics, therefore, making less revenue. Sure, they can call it optional partnership agreement on paper, but it’s not an option for your business as a GPU manufacturer will be seriously affected by predatory business practices. It is also predatory since the shortage of graphics cards in the current time puts everyone in an uncomfortable position when they shouldn’t be put in that position. It is easy to speculate as Nvidia sudden sharp supplies and sales due to mining. With companies like Ant Miner gearing up for cost-effective all-in-one mining solution, naturally, a company would like to explore keeping such high supplies and sales in some fashion. Irrespective of what happens, people will still buy. Even if it doesn’t work, it gives indirect authority to one for calling the shots over their partners until the regulators from respective countries/continents will take a look at it.
Bennet also mentions in its article where company personnel spoke to him on the condition of anonymity where they shared the same concern. Eventually, Nvidia said their side of the story in a blog post saying the program will help to serve gamers. The post is nothing more than the choice of marketing words. Stifling the choice is not good for gamers. Kyle Bennet also explained this problem and its consequences in PCWorld:
In the article and in the video, Kyle did say AMD Radeon did shop this article to him.
Relation with MSI Gaming
Once the dust is settled and when you take a third look, none. It is actually a poor choice of words but its timing. But its the following comment is equally empty and vague as Nvidia’s blog post. It doesn’t look good for MSI as it makes an end-product for the gamers.
It started in a promotional post in MSI Gaming’s Facebook page where a reader asks about the company’s stance on GeForce Program. Naturally, as an enthusiast, you would like them to stand up for an underdog AMD Radeon which manages to slip and fall whenever it tries to talk. But rather than taking care of the smoke, the unknown person tosses in some kerosene and fire. In this context, MSI gaming first comment was:
This isn’t about siding with any supplier. Nvidia currently is ahead of the GPU experience and people would also not buy anything sub-par to it. Kindly understand this is happening everywhere. eg. Google, Facebook.
Ye-ouch! It didn’t end there. MSI later said:
If its up par with performance, MSI will definately be able to do so.
It was later known the page is handled by MSI India. It is also confirmed that Acro Engineering is not handling MSI’s Facebook account. So it would be interesting to know the individual’s defination of ‘up to par’.
Naturally, this does not go well. Many jumped the gun by accusing MSI of supporting such predatory business practices, while the more level-headed individuals asked if this was a personal choice or were it the stance of the company personally. It didn’t look too good for MSI because they make AMD graphics cards and motherboards. While some of the comments have been deleted and/or altered, we did manage to get a screenshot of the conversation:
After a day’s time from the controversial statement, MSI Gaming said:
MSI always focuses on delivering the best user experience to the community. Hence we are open to all potential partners to deliver the same in the future We hope this comment clears all the confusion.
In reality, it didn’t address its stance on the Nvidia GPP. The fire catches up and spreads throughout the forest. It might not be MSI’s official stance, but since it happened they shouldn’t be quiet about its decision about signing up with Nvidia GeForce Partnership Program. MSI’s comment above is not a right way to handle it.
My take in all of this mess
Starting with MSI- The company was in the cross-fire until its follow-up comments. As much as the first one would be considered as a personal opinion by many, puts people in a situation. It is not something could be hidden away. If we see Gaming X series as Nvidia-exclusive, it will be obvious with future releases. Reading such feedbacks from PC enthusiasts is very important. I’ve noticed over the period of time where companies have forgotten how to communicate with buyers and how to make business decisions were made on mutual benefits as its marketing concentrates on the social media facade. A facade created with social media influencers. Nvidia strongly implied the same in its blog post. Unfortunately, the respective companies look at the numbers but not the actual people, what they have to say and therefore creates a gap between them until the time such incidents happen. Sure, those social media numbers look big. The bigger your social media reach is, your slip of the tongue/keyboard would have good or bad effects. It does not help when you are not clarifying your stand after the goof-up. It would be less damaging if MSI was direct. People are matured enough to understand there’s little can be done by an AIB manufacturer. The Facebook comments, however, reflects a support to Nvidia’s program.
While folks blame Nvidia for such distasteful practices which look cute on paper, one can’t help but ask ‘What are YOU doing, RTG??”. The Radeon Technologies Group hypes up an architecture launch with new SKUs but either its underwhelming or have some of its SKUs deliver similar performance (only) with Nvidia at a time when the green team will release newer GPU architecture. While some of them meet a certain requirement established by the current generation from Nvidia, they miss out on some elements during launch- drivers and game support, availability, pricing, power consumption and such factors. Therefore, it creates an uncertainty and let-down where people look some of Radeon’s offering as an alternative choice. The company is also responsible to have reviewers being swayed by misleading marketing lingos with letting them get them tested in their test bench. The same was done in India. Both GPU makers have problems. Its worse for Radeon because when they don’t deliver, it gives plenty of leverage for Nvidia to command a premium, have delays to sell stocks of the current generation while keeping a higher price and enjoying the non-existent competition’s situation.
As of now, AMD Radeon doesn’t need to be good once. It needs to be consistently ahead of its competitor because of its erratic past. It also needs to sober down its marketing hype and work on important factors. Everyone hopes AMD’s CPU division can rub some Irish luck and dedication to make good discrete Radeon options. Had there been a stiff competition between AMD Radeon and Nvidia, its AIB partners wouldn’t be put in this situation. If someone did for the laugh, all AIB partners will laugh and make chip makers give the incentive without the condition. Competition is a beautiful thing…
— Hardware BBQ (@HardwareBBQ) March 27, 2018