It might seem like the rest of the tech press has forgotten about the recent controversy surrounding NVIDIA’s GeForce Partner Program, but Kyle Bennet from HardOCP certainly hasn’t. While HardOCP doesn’t carry any new stories or updated information about the program, Bennet appeared on episode 43 of The Full Nerd podcast along with PCWorld, and made some new announcements regarding the program that he was told about thanks to his sources. Spoiler alert: none of what Bennet claims is good news.
The full episode is just over an hour long, so it’s a bit too long to listen to to get the gist of it. Bennet reiterates the previous claims from his article that includes that NVIDIA is asking for exclusivity over gaming brands, and that if partners do not sign up for the program, they’ll lose existing benefits that they have gained through their existing partnership with NVIDIA.
But it’s the new details that are revealed in the podcast that raise eyebrows:
- Both ASUS and MSI have signed up to be a part of GPP as of yesterday
- Bennet claims that the specifics of the agreement mean that a board partner cannot sell AMD graphics cards under any sort of gaming brand, even if it was a sub-brand in the same way that ASUS has ROG and ROG Strix
- If a board partner previously received marketing development funds (MDF) from NVIDIA, not signing up for the GPP would mean that MDF benefit falls away, despite previous agreements or past history
- Board partners considered banding together to fight the program and reserve their right to sell and market AMD cards in their preferred method, but opted not to fight NVIDIA on this due to “legal reasons”
- NVIDIA embarked on the program in order to manage their brand against Intel and AMD’s Kaby Lake-G products with Vega Graphics integrated.
More information needs to be leaked about the program in order to find out what’s really going on, and there needs to be some clarification on whether AMD’s other products, like their motherboards, sold under ROG are likewise covered by this agreement. For now, taken at face value, NVIDIA’s claim that GPP is there to enhance transparency and sell products more effectively to consumers doesn’t seem to hold up – instead, it looks like NVIDIA is using their pull in the market to push AMD out of it.