AMD HAS THROWN SHADE at Nvidia, claiming the firm imposes a "gamer tax" whereby PC hardware makers and OEMs are forced to have their gaming brands 100 per cent aligned with Nvidia's tech.
While AMD doesn't mention Nvidia by name, it noted that proprietary tech from other hardware brands can stymie freedom of choice when it comes to selecting PC components and systems.
One such example of this can be seen with Nvidia's G-Sync frame syncing technology, which can only be used with an Nvidia graphics card and a G-Sync certified display; it won't work with a panel that runs AMD's FreeSync technology despite the two features both offering frame syncing.
"PC gaming has a long, proud tradition of choice," said Scott Herkelman, AMD's general manager of gaming. "Whether you build and upgrade your own PCs, or order pre-built rigs after you've customised every detail online, you know that what you're playing on is of your own making, based on your freedom to choose the components that you want. Freedom of choice is a staple of PC gaming."
Supposedly embracing this vision, Herkelman said AMD will be working with partners to create Radeon RX graphics cards that embrace the "openness, innovation, and inclusivity that most gamers take to heart".
"The freedom to tell others in the industry that they won't be boxed in to choosing proprietary solutions that come bundled with 'gamer taxes' just to enjoy great experiences they should rightfully have access to. The freedom to support a brand that actively works to advance the art and science of PC gaming while expanding its reach," he enthused.
"We believe that freedom of choice in PC gaming isn't a privilege. It's a right."
The crux of the issue apparently lies with the likes of Nvidia forcing its partners into contracts that don't allow them to have AMD products under the same gaming brand.
For example, the Predator gaming division of Acer and the Republic of Gamers sub-brand from Asus theoretically wouldn't be able to have both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards under the same gaming banner.
This appears to be the case with Asus, as it's launching a range AMD graphics cards under a new AREZ sub-brand, rather than the Republic of Gamers division.
AMD reckons this is no good for the freedom of PC gaming and Herkelman drew attention to AMD's FreeSync tech, which is free for OEMs to use and poses no restrictions on its use.
"Through industry standards like AMD FreeSync technology, we're providing the PC ecosystem with technologies that significantly enhance gamers' experiences, enabling partners to adopt them at no cost to consumers, rather than penalising gamers with proprietary technology 'taxes' and limiting their choice in displays," said Herkelman.
Nvidia has yet to respond to our request for its take on the situation, but it has previously noted that is GeForce Partner Program is simply there 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".
That's all well and good, but a simple look at the significant price differences between G-Sync and FreeSync monitors, lend credence to Herkelman's claims that the cost of using proprietary tech is passed on from manufacturers to customers in a form of "gamer tax".
Again, AMD's impassioned embrace of PC freedom is not emphatically targeted at Nvidia, though reading between the lines it clearly is.
But AMD is normally fairly reserved when it comes to calling out industry issues that its rivals are involved in, so such a bold blog post by Herkelman could indicate that AMD really does feel that proprietary tech and restrictive partner programs are a problem for PC gaming, rather than a missive that promotes its own tech over Nividia's. µ
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