AMD Calls Nvidia Program ‘A Clear And Present Threat To Gamers’

AMD Calls Nvidia Program ‘A Clear And Present Threat To Gamers’

AMD and Nvidia have for years been locked in a struggle for dominance in the graphics card market, but this week that competition spilled over into something a lot nastier. Instead of competing over specs and release dates, AMD’s Robert Hallock has told Forbes that Nvidia’s Gameworks program — which lets developers implement a range of “exclusive” graphical features in games — is “a clear and present threat to gamers”.

“Gameworks represents a clear and present threat to gamers by deliberately crippling performance on AMD products (40 per cent of the market) to widen the margin in favour of NVIDIA products,” Hallock told Forbes. That’s quite the allegation.

He also claims that signing up to Gameworks “often precludes the developer from accepting AMD suggestions that would improve performance directly in the game code — the most desirable form of optimization.”

Nvidia of course deny this, with Director of Engineering, Developer Technology Cem Cebenoyan also telling Forbes “I’ve heard that before from AMD and it’s a little mysterious to me. We don’t and we never have restricted anyone from getting access as part of our agreements. Not with Watch Dogs and not with any other titles.”

I expect these gentlemen to settle this tomorrow morning. Pistols at dawn, 10 paces, no overclocking allowed.

Why ‘Watch Dogs’ Is Bad News For AMD Users — And Potentially The Entire PC Gaming Ecosystem [Forbes]


  • If this is true, and only if, then I can’t really say I’m in favour of this idea either. It allows companies to get a stranglehold on developers, like MS and Sony have done over the years. While I can see how they’d throw financial incentives at them to do this, it does cripple the actual audience who don’t choose to go Nvidia, or alternatively, when ATI enacts their own version (and they will), those who choose, like myself, not to use ATI cards. A very silly thing indeed. Essentially, you’re ‘consoling PC’s’.

    • This, but IF this is true, why aren’t ATI launching a lawsuit against Nvidia for lost revenue.

      • Even if ATI sues them for lost revenue, it still doesn’t help people with ATI graphics cards that cant play the games…

        • Unless they get a court order to force them to remove Gameworks, which I highly doubt would ever happen.

      • Nvidia isn’t a monopoly, so they have no monopolistic power, so can’t be sued under antitrust legislation. There’s nothing illegal about enhancing your position in the market at the expense of your competitors unless you have enough market clout to actively exclude them from the market.

        Otherwise every company could sue its competitors for lost revenue. It would get pretty silly.

        You may or may not recall that when the 3DFX was the height of 3D gaming they had many games optimised for their boards as well. 3DFX really was approaching a monopolistic position for a while (then fell behind technologically).

        That’s not to say it’s a good thing. It sounds like Nvidia are getting developers to use what amounts to a custom API which can interface with AMD but has superior performance & rendering on their own boards. The two companies swap leadership on the “fastest rendering” title with moderate regularity, so gaining an edge not directly related to actual performance gives them an advantage, especially when many modern benchmarks are done directly from actual games.

      • Because you can’t sue for lost revenue because another company comes up with an idea to get more customers than you. Even if it’s bad for consumers in the long run, that doesn’t give you a legal standing

    • This has been going on since the days of DOS though. 3dfx had custom stuff that couldn’t be used on other graphic chipsets. Then nVidia got PhysX/Cuda. AMD/ATI users whined and complained, til eventually they decided to replicate it on their cards. Sure it’s not 100% the same, but this really isn’t much different. nVidia are just looking for a selling point to get more people buying their cards. If AMD want to come up with their own plan to do this, you can bet all nVidia users will have a spew too. Shit happens really. AMD have practically owned the console market for some years now, with ATI/AMD chips being used in more machines than nVidia. If nVidia want to combat that by giving pc users an advantage, I’m all for it! It pushes competitiveness.
      So long as it’s proven they are not deliberately crippling games, and are merely adding extras that benefit users of nVidia cards, I say let em go for it. If by adding those extra features, it makes the game under perform on an AMD card, it’s not nVidia that’s to blame. They’re just trying to gain more market share. It’s a bit like DRM in a sense, or like Apple using proprietary formats. They could at least offer an option to disable the extra features to make performance on AMD cards acceptable however. At least then it could be said they are not just being jerks about it! 🙂

  • This isn’t new to the scene, nvidia have been pouring money into AAA releases for ages to make sure products released are prioritised to have better compatibility and code that’s favourable for their hard ware. You end up with a bunch of AMD user’s who don’t know to much and think that the game dev’s just did a poor job, but they’ve done exactly what they were paid to do. Nvidia is destroying the market by making it a monopoly and hopefully gameworks never takes off, but it will, and I’ll be on Linux with my AMD card.

  • It’s not like amd don’t have their own proprietary graphics features. They’re just pissed because watch dogs runs fairly poorly on their API and are blaming nvidia for it.

  • I prefer ATi products, as they tend to have better bang for your buck, but I am not adverse to buying nVidia for any reason. If there is truth to the claims then I shall never, ever buy nVidia again. That said, I’m pulling 80+ FPS with an R9 290 in Watchdogs, so there may not be all that much fact in the statement. Haven’t found any dogs to watch, either.

    • Yup. I don;t see why console exclusive features and missions are frowned on and this isn’t.

      I personally own AMD. They make good cards at great prices for bare bones performance. No doubt nVidia is better, but you pay a lot for a little extra IMO. That said I think I’ll go nVidia next time because that’s what I do: nVidia, AMD, nVidia, AMD etc.

      Side note, if AMD cards weren’t optimised for, where the consoles?? (I’m sure they were. Surly??)

  • ATI/AMD vs Nvidia – Let’s Begin (oh boy…here we go again)

    AMD do have their own program (I beleive) which AMD Gaming Evolved..according to the website, they goal is that “Games Come First”, support and nurture open industry standards and keeping PC gaming as number 1 gaming enviroment (which I see as a conflict since they now “own” the curren-gen (PS4/Xbone) market)

    I had bad experiences with Nvidia cards and have stayed away from them for a long time (so yes that makes me a AMD/ATI Fan). To me, it’s ever since Nvidia purchased Ageia (makers of PhysX) and incorporated it into their video cards and tech…it gave them the advantage in cards and financial incentives for developers to use Nvidia tools for game developent (I will always stick my middle finger up at the Nvidia logo when a game loads up)…

    The case in point I have is Watch Dogs (which again I will say it should have never gone cross-gen) – yes there are performance issues at the moment. but when the game was developed…you’ve got the game developed on AMD/ATI hardware (for PS4/Xbone) and then the PC version they added the Nvidia touch to add more detail…but then again if the PC version is not fully optimised (so It’s just crappy console port)…that adds to the headaches

    • The PhysX thing is legit, though. That’s just standard one-upping your competitor.

      • yeah it sucks that i have to install nvidia physx drivers on my ATI machine to play video games

  • The only difference I noticed so far is in games like Batman where I didn’t get the cool PhysX stuff. Is it something else here though?

    • It does look like it’s something else here, more than just limiting PhysX features on AMD cards. Studio’s that want to use some cool stuff in PhysX can only do that with Nvidia hardware. I’m sure there are other games as well.

      Studio’s might not go ahead with the cool features of PhysX simply because almost half their audience wouldn’t be able to see it. Let’s not forget the consoles are both on AMD hardware.

      It’s a shame really, I’ve been playing around with it at home and it’s a great product.

  • Um……didn’t ATI do this exact thing with Battlefield 4, the custom API from ATI that made their cards superior for BF4 and limited Nvidia cards.

    Petty little children, Nvidia is just better at business then them and they are complaining because they are being left behind, yes its a dick move but a smart move from a business standpoint.

    However I do believe that the gaming or tech advancements should all be open and they should all work hand in hand to improve and advance us all into the sci-fi future we all dream of.

  • I have twin GTX-580s, but I have been pissed for a long time at the way NVidia handles this stuff.
    Like their insistance on CUDA instead of embracing OpenCL. They want proprietary crap, and go as far to hobble their own cards OpenCL performance to push developers to use CUDA instead.

  • Hey look the crazy guy who stands on the corner spouting conspiracy theories is at it again. This is just another example of the stupid shit AMD is putting out to try and explain away why their cards are always lacking compared to nvidia. ATI always released shit drivers, and AMD has just gone with the flow in that regards.

    Oh yeah and don’t forget the side serve of hypocrisy from the company that gave us a new hardware specific graphics api, talking about locking out the competition.

    • always lacking? really? actually thought they leapfrogged quite a bit. AMD have come out with some monster cards that trump Nvidia, then vice-versa. standard industry practice that…

  • Old news. Nvidia’s done this before. Remember Crysis 2 when Nvidia ‘helped out’ Cryware? AMD cards and driver’s didn’t handle tessellation well, so Nvidia made sure everything, laughably including flat walls, was tessellated to hell. AMD will be busy figuring out what Nvidia has used to screw them this time. I also remember when AMD stated that proprietary API’s were uncool. “Hello”, Battlefield 4 and Mantle API. This is Nvidia giving AMD a punch in the face for that one.

  • How is this any different than mantle which has performance increases only on Several AMD cards? Stones in glass houses AMD

  • AMD and Nvidia have been doing this shit for years, and will continue you to for years.

  • Business.

    Also note that they tried to pull a similar thing on mobile/android and failed.

  • Sort of reminds me of the early graphics cards days with 3DFX and others having proprietary rendering tech.

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