The years-long video card rivalry between AMD and Nvidia has largely been a positive thing for customers. The constant attempts at one-upmanship from both companies have resulted in better products and more options for PC enthusiasts.
However, Nvidia may have taken things a step too far back in March with the launch of the "GeForce Partner Program." According to the company, the GPP was intended to give gamers "full transparency into the GPU platform" they were being sold. As HardOCP discovered in an in-depth investigation though, there may have been a much less savory side to the program Nvidia hadn't revealed.
In short, Nvidia appeared to be pushing their OEM partners -- such as Gigabyte, MSI, and Asus -- to attach their gaming brands exclusively to Nvidia products as a condition for joining the program.
Nvidia reportedly planned to offer GPP partners marketing development funds and "launch partner status" as incentives for joining. Naturally, choosing not to join the GPP would put a company in a disadvantageous position in relation to their competitors.
As an example of the situation, if Asus wanted to join the GPP, they could only use their well-known and trusted Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand on Nvidia cards. The company's AMD cards would need to receive different, lesser-known branding.
It now seems the controversy surrounding the GPP has become too much of a headache for Nvidia to deal with.
In a blog post released today, Nvidia's Director of Partner Marketing John Teeple announced they are officially pulling the plug on the GPP. In the following blog post excerpt, Teeple briefly explains Nvidia's original intentions with the program and the company's decision to cancel it:
With GPP, we asked our partners to brand their products in a way that would be crystal clear. The choice of GPU greatly defines a gaming platform. So, the GPU brand should be clearly transparent – no substitute GPUs hidden behind a pile of techno-jargon.
Most partners agreed. They own their brands and GPP didn’t change that. They decide how they want to convey their product promise to gamers. Still, today we are pulling the plug on GPP to avoid any distraction from the super exciting work we’re doing to bring amazing advances to PC gaming.