Back in August we got notified by AMD that the company planned to brief the international press about Hawaii products in Hawaii. This was a quite convenient place and part of the marketing strategy that graphics companies discontinued a few years back, when the financial crisis struck.
In the last few years we’ve been hearing that days of big noisy product launches at exotic places are long gone, but AMD surprised the whole industry by deciding to hold one in this year. AMD changed quite a lot in the last few years and many people we knew for years from ATI and AMD are gone and at other jobs, but in the process AMD got a few interesting people as well. To name a few names, Colette LaForce in Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Vice President at AMD and Roy Taylor in VP of global sales position. These are just two that come to mind and Colette used to work as Chief Marketing Officer & Global Vice President at Dell Services, while Roy use to work for Nvidia as VP of global sales.
Chief Sales Officer John Byrne, the highest ranked ATI veteran, knows the importance of guerrilla marketing and can recognise what might work and help boost sales. Chris Hook, another long time ATI / AMD veteran is now Director of PR and he acquired quite a reputation in the 2000s with his legendary launch parties.
The Hawaii event got Nvidia’s attention, we can definitely confirm that the event is something that Intel, Nvidia and many other companies have mentioned in our recent tour of Silicon Valley. The other thing that got Nvidia on its toes are the very successful Never Settle bundles that have created quite a lot of momentum in the market, even with mature products. A lot of people picked AMD over Nvidia just because of these attractive bundles and from a marketing point of view, AMD did a great job. It remains to be seen if the investment paid off, but it definitely helped AMD to sell many of its 7800 and 7900 cards.Our sources are telling us that Never Settle and Never Settle Reloaded really helped boost Radeon 7800 sales.
Our general feeling is that Nvidia now feels a bit intimidated by this launch, especially as all Nvidia talks these days is Tegra. Apparently this is what investors expect them to do, but the core business is suffering, at least as far as media buzz is concerned. Nvidia doesn’t mention Geforce nearly as much as it should and this is something that we were pointing out for quite some time to Nvidia.
Nvidia makes little money on Tegra and it still makes most of its revenue on Geforce and other product lines. Let’s not forget Nvidia’s cash cow, Jeff Brown driven Quadro division that is doing great for at least a decade with a single hick up in 2013, losing Mac Pro to AMD. Like all other companies, Nvidia is always keeping an eye on the competition and doesn’t want to see an NV30 happening again in graphics. It kind of happened with Tegra 4 that got delayed and caused huge issues for Nvidia’s Tegra business unit, but if we’re citing history, let’s mention NV 35 as proof that Nvidia can quickly recover.
Maxwell looks like a great graphics chip but it is still quite some time away and milking and improving Kepler in 28nm can give just some additional power, but not a miraculously faster chip. Hawaii will definitely reinvigorate the GPU market in the short term, but moving forward it things could get a lot more interesting. The AMD/Nvidia duopoly will introduce 20nm GPUs next year, although the PC market is in trouble, sales of gaming gear and workstations are flat, and some niches are actually growing. Coupled with the introduction of some big titles like GTA V and PC ports of other titled designed for next-gen consoles, the GPU space in 2014 will definitely be more interesting than this year.