NVIDIA resorted to "soft power" for the inattention of journalists to ray tracing

NVIDIA resorted to “soft power” for the inattention of journalists to ray tracing

Tech companies tend to be light on criticism. But sometimes they still want to put pressure on those who publish objectionable materials. It looks like NVIDIA chose the latter tactic, informing the YouTube channel Hardware Unboxed that it will no longer receive samples of GeForce Founders Edition video cards: the company did not like the fact that in its reviews the journalists emphasize rasterization and say little about ray tracing, where Ampere is stronger than its competitor. AMD RDNA 2 architectures.

NVIDIA, represented by GeForce Global Marketing Director Bryan Del Rizzo, wrote literally the following to journalists:

“Hi Steve, we have reached a tipping point in ray tracing (RT) implementation, and it has received widespread support from leading developers, game engines, APIs, consoles and GPUs. As you know NVIDIA has long been involved in RT. Technology is important and the future of the gaming industry, but it is also part of our dedicated research and development effort to revolutionize video games and create the best possible environment.

This philosophy is also reflected in the development of technologies such as DLSS, Reflex and streaming – all of which create tremendous value for customers purchasing graphics cards. They don’t get accelerators (GPs) for free, they work hard to make money, and they stay with their GPs for several years.

Despite all this progress, your GPU reviews and recommendations still focus solely on rasterization performance, and you pretty much leave out all the other technologies we offer players. It’s clear from your community’s comments that you don’t see things the way we, the players, and the rest of the industry. Founders Graphics Cards Edition and other NVIDIA products are distributed only to the media that recognize the changes in the gaming industry sector and understand the value of features that are important to players and everyone who buys GPUs today. Be it games, content creation, studio work and broadcasting.

Hardware Unboxed can continue to cooperate with our partners to receive video cards for testing. Of course, you will still have access to preview drivers and press material – that will not change. We are ready to return to this issue in the future if your editorial policy changes. “

All this actually means one thing: NVIDIA is ready to provide its video cards for reviews only to those journalists who “recognize the changes in the gaming industry sector “ and have a company-friendly attitude towards ray tracing, DLSS, etc. If the publication thinks otherwise, then it loses access to NVIDIA equipment directly – the company excludes it from the list of those who receive video cards from it.

As a result, a scandal erupted, and NVIDIA was accused by fans and enthusiasts. The situation itself shows that the company is seriously concerned about the vulnerability of its current offer on the market: if we leave out the hardware ray tracing, AMD Radeon for the first time in many years can quite adequately fight the GeForce.

Given that ray tracing technology is still in its infancy, AMD has more than enough time to catch up. In fact, ray tracing has a noticeable effect in a very small number of games, while traditional rasterization methods are still mainstream. This may change in the future, but so far the best tracing for many is not a decisive factor in evaluating the performance of video cards.

This behavior of NVIDIA is actually not the first case in the industry, which openly suffers from nepotism and “clubs of interest”, when manufacturers blacklisted resources that do not make explicit preferences in their reviews. This behavior undermines the integrity of the industry.

However, in this case, the story ended quite well for the Hardware Unboxed channel. After colleagues in the shop were supported by many leading video bloggers, who jointly raised the hype around NVIDIA’s controversial decision, the company had to back down. In the end, NVIDIA apologized to the reviewers and promised not to restrict them in any way in early access to samples in the future.

Unfortunately, this whole story shows that NVIDIA is trying to manipulate reviews in the computer press. And if major media outlets can count on broad community support in such situations, smaller publications may not be able to withstand pressure.

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