AMD Statement on Pricing: We Have No Control

By Published August 18, 2017 at 10:26 pm
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Following questions regarding the alleged expiry of MDF and rebates pertaining to Vega’s launch, AMD responded to GN’s inquiries about pricing allegations with a form statement. We attempted to engage in further conversation, but received replies of limited usefulness as the discussion fell into the inevitable “I’m not allowed to discuss this” territory.

Regardless, if you’ve seen the story, AMD’s official statement on Vega price increases is as follows:

 

“Radeon RX Vega64 demand continues to exceed expectations. AMD is working closely with its partners to address this demand. Our initial launch quantities included standalone Radeon RX Vega64 at SEP of $499, Radeon RX Vega64 Black Packs at SEP of $599, and Radeon RX Vega64 Aqua Packs at SEP of $699. We are working with our partners to restock all SKUs of Radeon RX Vega64 including the standalone cards and Gamer Packs over the next few weeks, and you should expect quantities of Vega to start arriving in the coming days.”

Reading this PR line more carefully, it’s clear that this is really three separate statements: (1) Demand was higher than expected at the initial launch price, (2) stock is being refilled, (3) “Vega64” is one word, not two. Never does the comment indicate a restocking at the launch prices, so we inquired further:

“That helps -- thanks for not leaving press & consumers in the dark.

“I have a point of clarification on the official statement: The statement notes ‘initial launch quantities’ and attaches prices to those initial quantities. What is not clear -- to me, at least -- is whether the RX Vega 64 cards will be restocked at a specific price. The statement works around that. Can you confirm for print whether RX Vega 64 single cards (non-bundles) will be restocked at $500?”

AMD responded:

“Because we can’t control pricing, I can’t say that.”

We inquired again:

“A follow-up, then: To what does AMD attribute the price increase found on retailers? What does AMD think caused the instant price hike at retailers?

“I suppose this is what I'm getting at: If the defense is ‘we can't control the pricing,’ and yet the launch price is clearly MSRP and has later spiked $100, then it seems as if there is some level of control somewhere. If that level of control is exercised through MDF, then that certainly seems an important part of the story. I am curious as to AMD's knowledge or speculation on what caused the price spike.”

This is where it was clear that no further ground would be gained, and that AMD is not providing information beyond the above statement: AMD’s representative was not authorized to further discuss the pricing questions.

We are still looking into this matter, but it seems as if the true price of “standalone” RX Vega cards (wherein “standalone” indicates “gamer pack”) is about $100 higher than expected. AMD’s timing is interesting: Launching in the middle of the mining market, there’s plausible deniability that mining demand – although the card mines far worse than we expected – is influencing retailer pricing. This defense is employed to a point of nearly accusing retailers of gouging based on demand, levying the “we can’t control that” against a rising tide of confused consumers. It's certainly a possible cause, but the stories from retailers, AIB partners, and AMD do not align. We were hoping for a response with some substance from AMD, but the PR line is all we’re getting for now.

Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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