Back in late October, AMD unveiled a promotion which shook the graphics card market to its core. By offering up to three free games with the purchase of an HD 7900-series card or two free games alongside two slightly lower end GPUs, they dramatically enhanced the popularity of their entire lineup.
Did AMD’s initiative work work? We’d say so since according to our channel sources, sales of certain Radeon SKUs nearly doubled during the busy pre-Christmas season. At one point, the HD 7970 GHz Edition was outselling the GTX 680, the first time an AMD card had accomplished such a feat since Kepler was released. In the grand scheme of things, that’s an impressive accomplishment and gamers were obviously excited about receiving up to $170 worth of games for free.
Unfortunately, due to the popularity of AMD’s program, the free game promo didn’t quite make it into the new year and that has left AMD’s lineup in an interesting position.
Seeing the competition beating them on the price / performance front, NVIDIA quickly responded with a promotion of their own, one which is still running to this day. So where does this leave AMD’s products?
Looking at just the enthusiasts-level elements, we can see the HD 7970 and HD 7950 coming in at a slightly disadvantage against nearly $100 worth of free games from NVIDIA, even with AMD’s excellent driver development helping things along. Granted, many gamers already own Assassin’s Creed III and Borderlands 2 but having some new games to play alongside a GPU upgrade should still appeal to anyone.
With this in mind, let’s look at AMD’s current positioning. The HD 7000-series is still front and center but they’ve already made public their plans for an enhanced GCN-based architecture dubbed Sea islands which will be released sometime this year. Attention and sales need to remain in the current generation’s corner….at least for the time being, but that won’t happen without either price reductions or something else.
Since offering free games alongside popular mid to high end graphics cards has become the norm, we wouldn’t be surprised to see AMD once again plunging into the game bundle world. Typically, January and February provide a lull in component sales but with some triple-A titles on the horizon, now could be the perfect time for AMD to begin offering yet another incentive to buy their technology.
We can’t forget that several upcoming premier games will fall under AMD’s rapidly expanding Gaming Evolved umbrella. Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider will have enhancements for Radeon GPUs, providing some potential candidates for a value added proposition. Then again, it’s completely possible that AMD will choose a different route altogether…..