AMD Brings Back Game Bundles

AMD’s Raise the Game bundle officially went live this week after its announcement last month. This resurrection of the once commonplace GPU + free game bundle is the latest sign of a shifting market. For those not named AMD or Nvidia, it’s a welcome change that manufacturers are finally feeling some pressure to compete for their customers’ money again. 

  • Eligible Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs purchased from May 10 to August 13 can be redeemed for up to 3 games
    • Forspoken, Sniper Elite 5, & the upcoming Saints Row
  • Only 3 participating U.S. retailers: AMD Store, Microcenter, & Newegg
    • Aside from Newegg, selection is heavily limited
  • All 12 RX 6000 cards qualify, with the campaign favoring premium products
    • RX 6400-6500: Saints Row
    • RX 6600-6650 XT: above + Forspoken
    • RX 6700XT-6950 XT: above + Sniper Elite 5

When Ordinary Is Extraordinary
AMD’s inclusion of effectively $100 or less in free games wouldn’t have stood out pre-pandemic. The game bundle is a tried-and-true – more importantly, cheap for manufacturers – way to discount their video cards. But it’s been a long couple of years of insufficient supply and outrageous pricing, to the point that sweetening the deal with a small discount or free game is actually newsworthy.
Cashing Out
One driving factor is the ongoing collapse of the crypto currency bubble, which heavily inflated GPU prices. One can actually find in-stock GPUs around MSRP (granted, MSRP from over a year ago in many cases), with average prices even dipping under MSRP. The big winners are going to be gamers and, to a lesser extent, system integrators and OEMs like iBuyPower or Corsair.

  • Price drops have favored more expensive GPUs
  • The “street price” of Nvidia’s RTX 3080s, for example, has plummeted around 40% in just a few months, according to Tom’s Hardware

Out With the Old
A significant part of AMD’s motivation here is what drove Nvidia’s ongoing “Restocked & Reloaded” promotional push of its RTX 3000 series in April: offloading soon-to-be “old” stock. Nvidia is expected to launch its next generation of cards by early fall (it’s rumored the launch was delayed to allow partners to sell off RTX 3000 cards), with AMD following by year’s end. Both manufacturers understandably want to steer gamers toward upcoming launches, especially given launches traditionally kick off with the most expensive – and margin-friendly – graphics cards. 
Unanswered Questions
There are two big questions now, one for gamers and one for manufacturers.

  • Will it Last? Prices have been falling and we’re starting to see discounts again, but supply and logistical challenges are likely to remain problematic through the upcoming launch season.
  • Did manufacturers nail the timing? The collapse of the crypto bubble and improving supply have been expected for months, but only time will tell if the likes of AMD and Nvidia reacted quickly enough to avoid having excess stock they’re going to have to upload quickly and less profitably.