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.

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11 Comments on Origin PC CEO Responds to AMD GPU Controversy

Evernessince

On October 5, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Even if for some belligerent reason they decided that AMD no longer represents their brand, they couldn’t have picked a worse time to do it. All signs point to yes except origin denying it. Even as a marketing ploy, this will damage their reputation.

kalstrand

On October 5, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Yeah like Origin would admit it if they were paid off by NVidia.

avrus96

On October 6, 2013 at 10:30 am

I don’t see any downside to dropping AMD in the way that they did. Battlefield 4 will run just as well on Nvidia chips as on AMD, and – as stated in the article – with fewer driver issues. And what about the FCAT/frame-pacing fiasco. Would a custom PC builder really want to deal with that?

>>> Also, if we’re set on someone paying them off, it could easily have been EVGA (EVGA branding is clearly visible in many of their photos, not “NVIDIA”) – EVGA is also the only brand of videocard available in their new “Geforce GTX Battlebox” computer design.

Perhaps try confirming what sort of partnership exists between Origin PC and EVGA?

psycros

On October 6, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Its unlikely that Nvidia paid Origin to drop AMD. What IS likely is that AMD refused to pay Origin to use their hardware while Nvidiia *did*. AMD would never admit to this practice, which is quite common in many industries, and they can’t expose Nvidia’s payola without exposing their own as well. Neither company makes any real money off of a niche seller like Origin – in fact they probably give kickbacks to EVGA to provide Origin with at-cost GPUs. However, its darn good PR to have your chips as the throbbing graphics heart of a monster PC. Nvidia probably met Origin’s minimum price for the “advertising” this quarter and AMD didn’t.

Ticker

On October 7, 2013 at 4:47 am

CEO heard that NVvidia was offering payola, and called to tell them “we’ll take the money”

No denial, just more vague side stepping.

p4l1ndr0m3

On October 7, 2013 at 7:19 am

Kevin Wasielewski: No. In fact, I called my NVIDIA rep and told them I am dropping AMD. Not the other way around.

So you were paid by an nVidia partner who received funds from nVidia to do this and the check hasn’t cleared yet. The question should be posed as follows:

“Has Origin PC, including any of the following: the company, it’s employees, and the employees’ families, received funds and/or incentives or the promise of funds and/or incentives from ANYONE in relation to the discontinuance of AMD graphics cards at Origin PC.”

I thing we know the answer to that one…

“KW: They did not reach out to me. No calls, emails, or tweets.”

Unless I missed it, I didn’t see where Charlie claimed they had spoken to Kevin directly. Also, it doesn’t mean that SA didn’t reach out to other employees within Origin PC.

social media website

On October 8, 2013 at 12:09 am

CEO heard that NVvidia was offering payola, and called to tell them “we’ll take the money”

No denial, just more vague side stepping.

Mate

On October 8, 2013 at 5:29 am

I have never had a problem with drivers on AMD, nor overheating or any other issue. On the other hand, I had to throw away a brand new GTX 560Ti, since it was crashing in Metro 2033, Just Cause 2, there were graphical glitches in GTA IV. Not to mention the card was overheating in a good ventilated Fractal Design case with temps reaching 90 Celsius and was loud as hell (Asus DirectCU II). So I swapped to a Sapphire 7850 2GB and now everything is finally stable, nothing crashes, temps are really low and I don’t even know that the card is there (so quiet!).

For me it’s Nvidia who has buggy drivers and are unreliable. And google the issues, I’m not alone.

And after this sh.tty move by Nvidia, I will never ever again use their cards and advise everyone I know to avoid Nvidia.

Ah also, Nvidia where is your bitcoin mining performance? I can’t see it ;)

max

On October 8, 2013 at 5:36 pm

lol funny i alwae bought only GeForce and never had a problem i own a 560 not-ti and those games i have them and they don t crash at all , GG owned. probly u have an AMD processor, get an intel and GeForce if u want nothing but the best.

thedog

On October 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Yes Mr. Clinton. Did you have se.x with that woman.
No, I did not have se.xual relations with that woman…….. But my cigar did.
Different incentive, same answer. Get the picture.

g1111

On October 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Max cannot even craft a legible sentence, of course we should take his word on what constitutes the ‘best’ hardware.

Idiotic little kids.