Acer Considers an Expansion into AMD Video Cards With Radeon GPU | Amazon Sets Sights on Tomb Raider Games, Film Universe
- Acer is reportedly considering an expansion into video cards with AMD.
- Amazon is creating a Tomb Raider universe after purchasing the rights from Embracer Group.
- Other News: PlayStation, Microsoft, Intel & more
Acer Weighing Video Card Expansion with an AMD Radeon GPU PC manufacturer tested DIY GPU market with Intel Arc in 2022
Testing the Waters
Acer officially debuted its first video card in fall 2022 under its Predator gaming line with the $399 Predator BiFrost Intel Arc A770. Prior to this, Acer had only made limited quantities of graphics cards for some of its prebuilt desktops.
- The BiFrost is slightly overclocked and $50 more than the reference Intel Arc A770 16GB.
- The company also created an entry-level version of Intel Arc’s A380 without the BiFrost branding (or its bells and whistles) that isn’t available currently.
- A Friend in Need: Intel’s acceptance that Arc would be a loss leader would have benefited Acer during negotiations.
- Limited Competition: Intel’s lack of board partners meant Acer A770 didn’t have to compete with established players, like Gigabyte.
- On Newegg, Acer's A770 currently only competes with cards from Intel and Gunnir.
Should Acer opt for a Radeon GPU, its potential customer base would be limited. AMD video cards make up only 15% of the market compared to Nvidia’s 76%. It’s no secret, however, that Nvidia hasn't always kept the interests of its board partners top of mind; longtime Nvidia-exclusive partner EVGA abruptly quit the entire video card market over purportedly shabby treatment. Working with AMD could mean less cutthroat pricing and more design freedom for Acer – and ultimately healthier margins on notoriously low-margin products.
Zero Sum Game
With the cooling gaming market, nobody would blame Acer if it doesn’t launch an AMD GPU later this year. The graphics cards market is one with a limited influx of new customers, and new brands have to take market share from more established ones. Factors that may ultimately tip Acer’s decision:
- Reference Cards: If AMD doesn’t opt for a reference card during its upcoming launches (the Radeon RX 7800, for example), manufacturing a third-party video card becomes more appealing.
- Reference cards set a de facto price ceiling for board partners and constrain profit margins.
- Nvidia skipped a reference card for the recent RTX 4070 Ti in an apparent concession to frustrated board partners.
- Ex-EVGA Talent: EVGA’s exit from the GPU business left a lot of talented expertise in video cards looking for a new home.
- EVGA was Nvidia’s largest board partner in North America.
-Avery Bissett, Head Writer
Amazon Sets Sights on Tomb Raider Games, Film Universe Embracer Group’s upcoming Tomb Raider game would be connected
Flipping the IP
Embracer Group acquired the Tomb Raider IP in May 2022 with its $300 million purchase of Crystal Dynamics, Eidos- Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal. Crystal Dynamics was the lead developer for the most recent mainline Tomb Raider games trilogy, while the other two studios provided support.
- Embracer Group has been steadily growing its library of owned IP.
- It acquired Gearbox Entertainment and the rights to Borderlands for $1.3 billion in Feb. 2021
- Comic book publisher Dark Horse Media was bought in Dec. 2021
- Tabletop gaming company Asmodee was purchased for $3.11 billion in Dec. 2021.
Amazon is going all in on a Tomb Raider cross-media universe, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The rights deal alone is its second largest behind the rumored $250 million it paid for the rights to its The Lord of the Ring series. Amazon also signed on respected writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve) and is working with dj2 Entertainment.
- Amazon likely paid at least eight figures.
- dj2 Entertainment co-produced the lucrative Sonic the Hedgehog film.
- Amazon and Embracer announced in December they would be collaborating on the next Tomb Raider game being developed by Crystal Dynamics.
For Embracer, this cross-media deal is the kind of synergies it’s been trumpeting since it began its diet of IP acquisitions. The company has, however, has had a rough recent stretch of disappointing AAA titles like Saints Row and Shadow Warrior 3. Its next big release, Dead Island 2, has also been mired in delays. Is Embracer still interested in developing AAA titles, or will it shift to leasing its IPs to outside developers?
For Amazon, it’s one more step in its quest to become a major player in gaming. Despite years of investment, the results to date have not matched the copious investments. The streaming giant will no doubt be looking to take a page from The Last of Us and use a popular streaming series to drive game sales – and vice versa.
Walking into Mordor
Despite not having the success of its film counterparts, Amazon has greenlit a second season of its The Lord of the Rings streaming series. Coincidentally, Embracer bought the video game and some of the film rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit last year. A cross-media The Lord of the Rings universe, or at least games, could be the next move for Amazon and Embracer.
- Amazon was able to make The Rings of Power through a legal loophole that didn't envision modern streaming services.
Netflix is getting the roguelike mobile title Tomb Raider Reloaded Feb. 14, as part of its expansion into gaming. What will happen to games like this in the years to come? Given Netflix and Amazon are competitors in streaming (and increasingly gaming), one wonders if future Tomb Raider games will be exclusive to Amazon when it comes to subscriptions or cloud gaming.
-Avery Bissett, Head Writer
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The Tap: News to Go
- Industry: Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox will be skipping E3 2023 this June, according to IGN. This is part of the trend from major publishers to pass on industry conventions in favor of their own showcases. E3 2023 will run from June 13-16, its first iteration since the pandemic.
- VR: Sony is reportedly cutting its sales projections for the PlayStation VR2 launch this month to around 1.5 million headsets, down from 2 million. (Courtesy of Video Games Chronicle) PlayStation has denied the report. The $549 headset launches Feb. 22.
- GPU: Intel is cutting the price of its Arc A750 video card to $249 ($40 reduction). It also released a driver update promising major uplift for DirectX 9 titles, a weak spot for Intel Arc. (Courtesy of The Verge) The Arc A750 is Intel's third most powerful card and competes primarily with Nvidia's RTX 3060.
- Microsoft: 343 Studios will be switching to Unreal Engine for its next project after the Slipspace Engine-powered Halo Infinite's protracted development. (Courtesy of Video Games Chronicle) 343 was particularly hard hit by Microsoft's recent layoffs, losing at least 95 employees, which raises questions on how committed Xbox is to developing future Halo titles in-house.
- Games: EA has canceled multiple games after a disappointing quarter that saw net bookings fall 9%. These so far include Battlefield Mobile, Apex Legends Mobile, and a Titanfall/Apex Legends crossover. (Courtesy of Bloomberg) It will also be delaying the upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Survivor to April 28. The six-week delay will push it from Q1 to Q2 on EA's books.