AMD has been making some incredibly concerning decisions these last few weeks regarding its new product launches. First, we brought you news yesterday that review sample allocation of its upcoming R9 Fury graphics cards is non-existent, or at least that AMD has no plans to send out these cards, on the other hand the R9 Fury X will only have 10 samples for the whole of the EU region. That number may not sound too bad but when you consider the scope of this industry spans print magazines, YouTube reviewers and a wide range of enthusiast technology sites, it soon becomes apparent that 10 is barely enough to scratch the surface. Such a move is certainly not what you would expect of a flagship product – you would normally expect a large set of reviews and independent testing to entice consumers into a purchase.
eTeknix already knows it won’t be allocated a sample in the first wave and in light of recent news, it appears eTeknix likely won’t get one at all. Fellow UK publication KitGuru (Link) has spoken out this morning that AMD has withdrawn its Fury X sample over ‘negative content’ and put simply, that’s outrageous. As journalists it is integral that are able to write freely and independently, to say what we see, as we see it and share that information and informed opinion with readers. A balanced and independent approach includes both the good news and bad news and when it comes to AMD, as with any brand, eTeknix has had a fair number of positive things to say, as well as negative, but crucially there’s some balance to be found in it all.
AMD’s decision to withdraw samples for a number of websites because of negative content is, in my mind, a bullying tactic – “say nice things if you want to work with us.” Should eTeknix stop publishing independent analysis and opinion that could be beneficial to readers if that means a brand will no longer support us? eTeknix hasn’t lied to get to where it is now and it’s certainly not about to start.
eTeknix reached out to AMD for further details on sample availability, what constitutes ‘negative content’ and why they’re cutting back on events. Unfortunately, eTeknix received a very similar canned response from multiple contacts at AMD. If we didn’t know any better we’d say AMD were on damage control but, looking at recent reviews, we can’t understand why.
Below you can find the response from Senior Manager of EMEA Communications Christine Brown:
“I’m sorry to say that AMD is generally reducing the press events we host, invitee numbers for any events, sampling numbers, etc. Our decisions are based on a number of factors that I’m unable to go into. However I can only assure you that we will involve you in events and sampling when we feel it is appropriate and we are able. With regards to specific sampling of Fiji, I’m afraid our current allocation means we will not be able to sample you prior to launch. I realize this may not be the response you were hoping for but I can only reiterate that we will keep sharing information and more when we can.”
For further clarification eTeknix reached out to an additional AMD representative, Corporate VP and General Manager of EMEA for AMD Darren Grasby, and his reply was as follows:
“Thanks for getting in touch. I appreciate all the support you’ve given us both in the past and moving forward. As I think the team have explained, there are a number of factors behind the planning for our launches and unfortunately that sometimes means we’re unable to accommodate every request, as much as we’d like to. I’m sorry to say that AMD is generally reducing the press events we host, invitee numbers for any events, sampling numbers, etc. Our decisions are based on a number of factors that I’m unable to go into. However I can only assure you that we will involve you in events and sampling when we feel it is appropriate and we are able.”
These responses look uncannily similar so maybe AMD doesn’t have the time or capability to provide more honest responses to its trusted press partners or representatives have been instructed to deliver a general response. The R9 Fury and R9 Fury X appear to be impressive graphics cards so you can bet eTeknix is going to push hard to bring readers an in-depth review of this upcoming hardware, even if it involves getting samples from AMD AIB partners as eTeknix has had to do in the past.