Over the weekend, MSI got into some hot water with AMD’s and MSI’s own fans over an erronous Facebook comment from MSI India’s page manager. Ever since the news broke about the company allegedly signing themselves into NVIDIA’s GeForce Partner Program, people have been curious about how the company was going to start making the changes to their branding that the GPP is alleged to require. After AMD’s Radeon cards under MSI’s premium “Gaming” brand disappeared from their website, gamers started tweeting at MSI and poking at their reps on the AMD subreddit. One rep on Facebook made the unfortunate decision of replying to a comment about GPP, and then it all blew up.
A comment left by Pj Gowtham on MSI Gaming India’s page accused MSI of siding up with NVIDIA and encouraging a monopoly, and called the move anti-consumer. 18 hours later, the rep responds (to date, no representative or GPU vendor has ever commented publicly on GPP in any official capacity), on early Saturday, 24 March 2018. The rep claims that it is not about siding with any supplier, but rather about a level of quality – which implies that gamers won’t want to buy anything sub-par to the GPU experience provided by NVIDIA.
Two hours later, the next comment from the rep says that if the performance is up to par, MSI “will definitely be able” to utilise AMD graphics cards in their products. It should be noted that the main post that started the thread is an advertisment for a sale on MSI’s GS63 Stealth gaming notebook. In this context, the rep was probably saying that if AMD could offer a good solution for gaming notebooks, that it would be able to use them in future products. MSI currently does not have any notebooks in its Gaming series that feature AMD graphics cards or APUs.
A third comment, with a completely different tone, is made by MSI on 24 March. It tries to stop the barrage of comments against MSI by saying that the company is always focusing on “delivering the best user experience to the community. Hence, we are open to all potential partners to deliver the same in future.” In the context of notebooks, MSI’s official reply makes sense. NVIDIA leads in the user experience there thanks to better power management and its deep technical relations with notebook vendors.
By this point, the story has begun to spread. Forbes contributor Jason Evangelho has covered the small controversy. The AMD subreddit has several threads above 1500 upvotes with several hundred comments. Over in the NVIDIA subreddit, moderators are hiding newly submitted threads about the controversy, and are automatically deleting threads concerning the GPP. Several YouTubers are covering the controversy, including Joker Productions, UFD Tech, GamersNexus, TechLipton, and 2kliksphilip. It even lands on the front pages of PCGamer, WCCF Tech, and even Bloomberg.
The final official reply from MSI, made after it deleted previous comments, is this:
“We apologize for making an inappropriate comment. It did not represent MSI’s official views.”
When the controversy broke on Facebook, I reached out to MSI South Africa for an official statement, but they did not have a comment to offer. AMD did not issue any official comments on the matter.
The saga continues.