Origin PC CEO Responds to AMD GPU Controversy
Yesterday, Game Front reported that Origin PC would no longer be offering AMD GPUs in its PC products. In the 24 hours that followed, there’s been ample reporting and rampant speculation on the move.
SemiAccurate posted an editorial about the announcement, titled “How much did Nvidia pay Origin PC to drop AMD?” SA cites several unnamed sources that claim Nvidia has given Origin PC money “in the six digit range,” and this financial contribution, be it through marketing funds, partnerships, or product discounts, is the reason why Origin is only offering GeForce GPUs now.
I pressed Origin PC CEO Kevin Wasielewski for additional comment. I asked him if Nvidia had given money to Origin PC — my questions and Kevin’s answers are below:
Devin Connors: Has Origin PC received any incentive, cash or otherwise, from Nvidia that led to the discontinuation of AMD GPU sales by Origin PC?
Kevin Wasielewski: No. In fact, I called my NVIDIA rep and told them I am dropping AMD. Not the other way around.
DC: Did SemiAccurate reach out to you for comment before they published their article today?
KW: They did not reach out to me. No calls, emails, or tweets.
There you have it. A straight-up “no” to the $64,000 question, no tip-toeing or side-stepping.
I’ve been asking my own hardware sources about the move, and while I consider Origin PC’s “no” to be pretty concrete until I hear otherwise, there is still mounting evidence that points to a “yes.”
For starters, none of my sources have directly contradicted the no answer I received from Kevin W. and Origin PC. However, they are quick to point out that Origin’s move comes at an odd time. Why would you drop AMD support right before the company launches a brand new line of hardware? And why would you drop a company that seemingly has its shit together, some driver issues aside? AMD is in bed with some of the biggest games and developers this year — they are partnered with EA and DICE on Battlefield 4, for example.
When Battlefield 3 was released in 2011, one of my sources said the title was responsible for roughly $1 billion in revenue on the hardware side –that’s $1 billion worth of new gaming PCs, GPU and CPU upgrades, etc. Why would Origin want to miss out on that money, now that Battlefield 4 is launching in a few weeks?
At this point, I have to go with what Origin is telling me: no money changed hands, and this was a move on Origin’s part to shore up its brand. I think the PR to go with the move was botched, since all everyone is talking about is how this deal smells fishy. But as the saying goes: Innocent until proven guilty. I’ll be taking Origin’s word for it until I hear otherwise.