Nvidia’s GeForce Partner Program doesn't stop companies selling AMD GPUs | PCGamesN

Nvidia’s GeForce Partner Program doesn't stop companies selling AMD GPUs

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A report has surfaced on HardOCP alleging that Nvidia's GeForce Partner Program (GPP) will have a detrimental impact on the graphics card purchasing choices of us gamers. The main issue seems to surround whether companies which have historically supported both AMD and Nvidia based graphics cards will be able to continue to do so as part of GPP.

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Nvidia posted a piece on their own blog last week, introducing the new program, highlighting its efforts to ensure full transparency into the GPU platform and software gamers are being sold by Nvidia's partners. It also explicitly states that “the program isn’t exclusive. Partners continue to have the ability to sell and promote products from anyone.”

That seems pretty clear and straightforward then - companies such as Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI can all sign up to GPP and be assured that they can continue to support Nvidia’s Radeon-based competition. And they can carry on with that support without losing out on their positions as launch day graphics card partners, or miss out on any precious marketing dollars.  

But the HardOCP article suggests they’ve seen documentation laying out the terms and conditions of the GeForce Partner Program which states that in order to have access to all the GPP good stuff partners will need to have their "Gaming Brand Aligned Exclusively With GeForce."

That wording would suggest there is still some exclusivity system in place residing within the GPP setup. It makes it seem like a company can only be part of the program if their sole gaming brand is GeForce exclusive. 

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But we’ve done our own digging into the story and from what we’ve uncovered the truth of the matter is the transparency Nvidia are chasing is about making it clear which graphics card range from a company is based on GeForce tech and which are running AMD’s GPUs. It's not about stopping a company from having a separate AMD-based gaming brand.

Graphics card companies can then have as many brands as they like, so long as they are separated along green and red boundaries. That means Asus could have a Republic of Gamers Mars brand, which only sells Nvidia, but also a Republic of Gamers Ares brand that is exclusively AMD-based. GPP isn’t going to stop any company from selling AMD GPUs as specifically gaming graphics cards.

HardOCP haven’t been able to get any prospective GeForce partners to go on record to talk about their concerns with the new program, but have still made their own rather serious claims about it, which from our understanding seem to be entirely based on some confused messaging in the GPP documentation they've seen.

It also seems worth pointing out HardOCP claims it was AMD who brought the story to their attention and encouraged them to do some digging. And that would probably make it difficult for team red to pursue any legal claims against Nvidia if they thought there were any genuinely anti-competitive deals going down.

Interesting times.

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tetris42 avatarDave James avatarraymond.caron avatarchaseamc219 avatarDr Max Facts avatarCooe avatar+4
Cooe Avatar
5
2 Months ago

Sorry Dave, but on this particular kind of topic, I'm far more likely to trust Kyle then you when information is as limited as it is. Also, even if you are right, forcing AIB's to create entirely new brands with no brand awareness to sell AMD cards under puts them at an incredible disadvantage vs Nvidia's continued use of the existing "Gaming" GPU brands with long term marketing history and reputations behind them. Either way, this entire think just reaks of awful anti-consumer / anti-competitive stank.

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Dave James Avatar
616
2 Months ago

No worries, Cooe :) I can only go by what I've read into the subject and the people involved that I've spoken to. I haven't seen the documents Kyle's seen, but I do trust my contacts.

From what I've been told it's not a case of the existing gaming brands only being allowed to be Nvidia-based. Companies could use their existing gaming brands for AMD and create a separate gaming brand for their Nvidia cards, it's up to them.

I'm honestly not sure how a company having separate gaming brands for Nvidia cards and AMD cards is anti-consumer.

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Doctor Who Avatar
3
2 Months ago

I think there's a misunderstanding here, AIB partners of this program CANNOT create new brands for Radeon cards nor can they sell Radeon cards in a Laptop or OEM package. Or they go against this GPP. That's how Anti-Competitive this is.

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Dave James Avatar
616
1 Month ago

That's explicitly the opposite of what Nvidia told us, Nvidia have gone on record with us saying partners can create as many gaming brands as they like.

You've commented on this story a lot, so please do get in touch via email if you do have evidence that is not the case. My contact details are in the About section of the site. We haven't heard this from AIBs so if you can get us the evidence that would be great.

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tetris42 Avatar
60
2 Months ago

"confusing messaging" in the documentation is likely exactly as intended if it's meant to be a binding contract. In general you should trust large companies about as far as you can throw them.

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Dave James Avatar
616
2 Months ago

Be interesting to see how this plays out. From what I've heard from the people involved the program simply doesn't limit a company's ability to produce graphics cards with the competition's GPUs at their heart, nor does it punish them for doing so, so I don't see how it's meant to affect consumer choice. Maybe I'm being naive...

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raymond.caron Avatar
7
2 Months ago

It would be nice if we saw the wording of the contract, otherwise this is all heresay and the rest of us are left wondering exactly what's going on.

This article didn't clear up anything.

i agree with Tetris. companies are using poor English in contracts to confuse people as to what exactly is going on in the contract, and then they rely on their size and their deep pockets to discourage challenges. If there is any question at all with what the If It says, then nVidia is doing exactly whay HardOCP claims.

Do more digging. There's more to the story.

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Dave James Avatar
616
2 Months ago

What is it you feel needs clearing up?

The digging I've done, speaking to the people involved in the program, has been very explicit in showing that there is nothing in the GPP that suggests a GPU partner cannot continue to sell AMD graphics cards under a gaming brand.

The only thing GPP does say on the subject is that a company can't have a single gaming brand that contains both Nvidia and AMD cards, they have to be separated. Which doesn't mean they can't have an AMD gaming brand, it just makes it clear which of their ranges is Radeon and which is GeForce-powered.

I also doubt the contentious phrase has come from a contract, it's likely just from some documentation around the program. But we're not going to see those documents as the companies involved will be under strict NDAs.

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raymond.caron Avatar
7
2 Months ago

No, what you've written here is an opinion of a program written through the lense of how you think it works. it's coloured by your own preference for nVidia which comes out clearly in your article. It's an optimistic piece. There's nothing wrong with that but your article is notably absent of any supporting data.

Do you know for sure that the contract allows sub-branding or is that just what you envision it allows based on optimism? i think it's based on optimism as contracts are typically complex, and since nVidia is clearly trying to control something with respect to brands by another company, that suggests your wrong. why? Because it's not at if any customer buying a GPU ever had a problem determining if they were buying a GeForce or Radeon before hand, so what's the point of the specifications regarding branding when it was never a problem in the first place? That's the crux of the issue, why is nVidia trying to dictate through a contract, which was stated to be complex and already has multiple interpretations, when there is no historical reason to support the change. Why go through the trouble of aggrivaring market partners when there is no underlining problem that need to be addressed. Yet here you are claiming sunny days when a contract is required. c

Contracts require lawyers and have penalties involved... so why bother when is just makes business more expensive?

If you're asking what can you do to support your opinion (because that's what you wrote at there is no evidence) than my obvious answer would be to add evidence. If it's an innocuous contact as you claim, than post it. Let's see the wording of this friendly contract that doesn't seem to change or modify the business practices of another company.

From a realistic perspective, what you're saying cannot possibly be true because there's a contract involved. Contrscts like this are either predatory or defensive by nature, because it's unusual for one company to dictate who another does buisness during a time when business is great, and for nVidia business is great. nVidia enjoys a technical advantage, a product stock advantage, a market penetration advantage, a product review advantage, a market preference advantage, a pricing advantage, an AI advantage, and a sociological advantage with gamers. There is simply no further advantage that nVidia needs in order to sell its products, its the preferred choice. So this whole thing is unnecessary. All of their partners are already hanging on every word coming out of nVidia, because it's the preferred product.

If there's no reason for it, than it's predatory by nature, so your claim that its not is unlikely. nVidia is spending money on this, WHY? If it's not too gain marketshare through market manipulation then the program won't result in more sales or more revenue, so why spend the money? You never addressed why there's a program, why nVidia is going through the effort and the expense involved with respect to this program.

So let's see this contract. There's no reason for nVidia to hide the wording, there's nothing to hide if what you're saying is true.

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Dave James Avatar
616
2 Months ago

As I mentioned above, the docs and contracts will be under strict NDA with the companies themselves and we're not going to be given them, nor would we be able to publish them for the public.

Affiliate programs themselves are not unusual, and will always involve contracts between the parties entering into the agreement. That's especially true when you're talking about this sort of traditional financial marketing assistance being given to the partners.

Yes, Nvidia are trying to control the subsequent branding of their own GPUs, but from what I've been told they're not doing it to the total exclusion of the competition. And certainly not in any way that's likely to affect consumer choice.

I do totally get that it'd be a more juicy story if there were some antitrust activities being posited, but they'd be crazy to try it after what's been going on with AMD and Intel, and their billion dollar payout. What I've written above isn't an opinion based on personal optimism about the program, it's based on my talking to the people involved in it. It's also not based on any personal bias - as a long-time tech journo I'm in the privileged position of being able to use AMD, Nvidia, and Intel hardware depending on which performs best for my needs ;)

Unfortunately, like the HardOCP piece, I'm not able to reveal my sources, but I'm hoping they'll soon be as explicit publicly as they have been to me.

Obviously you can choose to believe that I am making this up, but I can assure you it's based on doing some digging into it myself. Of course the folk involved could be lying directly to us, but they've always been very straight with me.

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Doctor Who Avatar
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Doctor Who replied to Dave James
2 Months ago

This nonsense Nvidia program chokes consumer choice by Anti-Competition. By Nvidia coming out with this BS, they are now officially support Anti-PC Gaming.

This program chokes competition and the results is no more Radeon cards inside Laptops, Notebooks, OEM's and so on.

I hope Nvidia gets hit hard by the Fair Trade Commission. In Asia, N.America & Europe. And I encourage everybody to BOYCOTT Nvidia GPU's and any AIB that signed up for this nonsense.

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chaseamc219 Avatar
2
2 Months ago

I think that a problem will be laziness or just not wanting to spend money on double branding by board partners. What your saying is that for example Asus would not be able to sell Nvidia and Amd cards both labels Dual for example, like they currently do. They would have,to create two separate categories for each category. So then who would get the well known Strix? And if there is wording like that I think it is what Nvidia intends. Because then it creates the requirement for different marketing etc... Seems inocuous but that's the point right?

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Dave James Avatar
616
2 Months ago

The thing is board partners are creating new brands all the time. Graphics card companies have already got huge numbers of different brands - taking Asus alone as an example they have seven different GPU ranges: Republic of Gamers, Turbo, Dual, Expedition, Pheonix, Mining, Cerberus. And apart from the 'Mining' one can anyone tell me what the differentiating factor is between them?

It certainly doesn't look like they have any issue trotting out new ranges when they feel like it, and if they were worried about who gets STRIX then they can simply create more sub-brands.

I don't see how gamers are going to have less choice over which graphics card they can buy because of GPP they're just going to have different names.

And I'm really struggling to see how that's such a terrible thing.

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Pentium 3 Avatar
2
2 Months ago

Is something an Nvidia shill would say! How much are you getting paid by Nvidia to post this obvious crap? How can forcing companies like Asus or Gigabyte stop selling AMD products for their gaming brands be in any universe good in any way? How can the gaming brand Aorus being Nvicrapia exclusive be good for consumers or good for AMD? This is anti competitive bullshit and I sure hope the EU fines Nvidia billions of dollars, to the point of bankruptcy!

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Dave James Avatar
616
2 Months ago

:heart:

"How can forcing companies like Asus or Gigabyte stop selling AMD products for their gaming brands be in any universe good in any way?"

Well, they're simply not forcing them to do that. They're saying if you want to continue to be a launch GPU partner and continue to receive financial support for co-marketing activities, then the GeForce gaming brand can't also contain AMD GPUs.

And why would the Aorus brand have to be Nvidia exclusive? Why wouldn't that be AMD exclusive? It would make sense for the manufacturers to take this opportunity to use Nvidia's marketing funds to finance a new GeForce gaming brand and leave an existing and established gaming brand to be AMD exclusive.

That's the flip side of this. AMD gets their own exclusive gaming brands.

And if it's so obviously anti-competitive do you not think Nvidia's lawyers drawing up the agreements would have said something? There's no way Nvidia would swallow the risk of a potential $2bn fine just for the sake of marketing.

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Doctor Who Avatar
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2 Months ago

Most of your posts are in defense of this BS Nvidia program. Seriously, this program is NO GOOD. This ain't an opinion, its based on Hard Facts that are none disputable. Yet you continue to claim the program is simply fine. Seriously? R U getting paid by Nvidia or something, its ruining your credibility.

You need to look at this objectively, taking no sides. Nvidia has 70% of the GPU market. Yet they come out with this very strong Anti-Competition Strategy.

At the time of writing this, Nvidia and this BS program is under investigation.

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Dave James Avatar
616
1 Month ago

No, not getting paid by anyone. I just haven't seen any of the hard facts you have, and the only people who have been willing to talk to us on the subject have been Nvidia.

Obviously if they are lying directly to us, having given us their official clarification, then that is bad. If you have incontrovertible evidence which says they're lying please do send it to us.

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M1ng0J1ng0 Avatar
4
2 Months ago

I think Dave has got the right end of the story here and it's snowballing elsewhere out of context. If Nvidia are spending their own resources to market AIB cards they understandably don't want the partner to use the same name branding for both Nvidia and AMD cards they may be selling. Otherwise Nivdia will be effectively using their own time and money to help sell competing AMD cards which shares the same title.

That's very different from forcing them into 'only' selling Nvidia cards which would end up in the courts with a huge fine. So I call bs on the HardOCP version of events.

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Dr Max Facts Avatar
2
2 Months ago

Nvidia is new this type of marketing while AMD has been playing its AMD Advocate program for years now, so because AMD is debt dumb and R&D poor Bennett turns a blind eye to AMD while focusing in on Nvidia. All you need to do is Google AMD's Advocate Program to see that AMD has been playing their incentivised Advocate game for a many years.

Bennett claims its AMD that brought the story to their attention, where's evidence that the contract is written as AMD claims. This reads more like debt desperate AMD is on a witch hunt blowing FUD smoke where there is no fire. You can be sure that if there is a GeForce Gaming Branding contract Nvidia's army of lawyers know what their doing and this contract makes sure that AMD doesn't try to take a free ride on Nvidia's marketing coattails.

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steverb Avatar
1
2 Months ago

I may be a little late in this, but you're take is so far off it's not

funny. If the gaming brands were started because of this program, what you said would work. As it stands, Nvida gets the benefit of years of marketing, large existing product lines (MB, mice, kb, laptops, etc.), and marketing money which would NOT be split. Maybe if you require the brands to co-advertise both the old and the new brands in EVERY advertisement, but I don't see that happening. Like anyone confuses GTX- with RX- or Vega -. Get real.

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Dr Max Facts Avatar
2
2 Months ago

Nvidia is making sure Debt Desperate AMD isn't Jumping on Nvidia's GeForce Gaming Branding Train.

Learn to read AMD fanatics so that you can read to learn

GeForce Partner Program

In our latest effort to better serve gamers, we’re introducing our GeForce Partner Program.

The GPU and software of a gaming PC make all the difference in a gamer’s experience. And together with our add-in card and system partners, we’re dedicated to building the best PC gaming platform bar-none – this is the GeForce promise.

The GeForce Partner Program is designed to ensure that gamers have full transparency into the GPU platform and software they’re being sold, and can confidently select products that carry the NVIDIA GeForce promise.

This transparency is only possible when NVIDIA brands and partner brands are consistent. So the new program means that we’ll be promoting our GPP partner brands across the web, on social media, at events and more. And GPP partners will get early access to our latest innovations, and work closely with our engineering team to bring the newest technologies to gamers.

Partners are signing up, fast. They see the benefit of keeping brands and communication consistent and transparent.

The program isn’t exclusive. Partners continue to have the ability to sell and promote products from anyone. 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.

GPP ensures our engineering and marketing efforts support brands consumers associate with GeForce. That transparency will give gamers the confidence needed to make their purchase, whichever products they choose.

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