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With AMD’s existing Never Settle Reloaded bundle set to wind-down this summer, AMD is announcing this morning that they are once again refreshing their popular Never Settle bundle program. The latest iteration of the program, being dubbed Never Settle Forever, is going live today and will immediately be replacing Level Up with Never Settle Reloaded across most products. And like previous iterations of the Never Settle program, Never Settle Forever will be coming with its own set of changes for the program.

The most significant news here, beyond the fact that AMD is renewing Never Settle, is how the redemption program works. With Never Settle Reloaded and previous editions of the bundle, AMD has been bundling offers for specific games with specific products. The most recent edition, for example, would offer Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon with a Radeon HD 7790, while a Radeon HD 7770 would come with Blood Dragon, but drop the other two titles for Far Cry 3. However with Never Settle Forever, AMD is moving away from a fixed game model to a pick-your-game model that lets buyers redeem games off of a revolving list of several games.

Alongside the pick-your-game model, with Never Settle Forever AMD is moving redemption into 3 “Radeon Rewards” tiers: Bronze, Silver, and Gold, with the tiers tied to video cards of increasing value. Each tier in turn has its own list of games – these lists currently being supersets of each other as you go up in tiers – with buyers getting 1, 2, or 3 games off of each list respectively. Meanwhile this tier system will also serve to slightly simplify AMD’s redemption system, as this will see AMD contracting the number of card/game configurations from 5 to 3 (7990 excluded).

AMD Never Settle Forever: Radeon Rewards Tiers
Card Tier Number of Free Games Cur. Number of Games on Tier
7990 N/A 8 8
7900 Series Gold 3 9
7800 Series Silver 2 8
7790/7770 Bronze 1 7

Next to the pick-your-game model and the use of tiers, the final change in the program is that AMD is now going to allow buyers to “bank” their redemption credit, in anticipation of future titles. As previously mentioned AMD will be using a revolving list of games, so games will be periodically added or dropped as AMD signs up new games, loses old games, or exhausts their key allocations. Buyers in turn may choose to use their redemption coupon now or in the future, with those choosing to bank their coupon betting on being able to redeem those coupons for newer/better games in the future.

However there will be a trio of catches to banking redemption credit that need to be pointed out. First and foremost, AMD will not be announcing new games ahead of time. So whatever games they add in the future – and they have made it clear they will be adding games – are anyone’s guess, as will what tiers get those games (only gold tier is a given). The second catch is that silver and gold tier coupons, good for 2 and 3 games respectively, must have all of their games redeemed all at once; the credits can’t be split. So for example on a gold tier coupon it’s not possible to get Tomb Raider now, and then save just 2 of the credits for future use. It’s all or nothing, as it were. AMD didn’t go into great detail on why they’re handling the program in this manner, but judging from their current game lists it’s a reasonable assumption that they don’t want coupon holders “sniping” the most valuable (read: expensive to AMD) games. Finally, redemption coupons/credits are only valid until the end of 2013, so while buyers can bank their credits they can't bank them for too long, as they'll need to spend them by the end of the year.

With all of that in mind, given AMD’s current game list the banking system is a reasonable compromise considering what games are currently available on each tier. Compared to Never Settle Reloaded, Never Settle Forever is at least initially a weaker bundle; AMD has lost two of their most recent titles, Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite. The only 2013 AAA games that remain are Tomb Raider and DMC, the rest of the games being from 2012 or earlier, or in the case of Blood Dragon a budget game from the start. So despite the additional flexibility the pick-your-game model offers, buyers at the highest tier in particular (7900 series/gold) are getting a less valuable bundle at this moment. We can’t guess what titles will be introduced in the future, but banking may not be a bad idea for those looking to get the most bang for their buck.

Finally, Never Settle Forever will for the time being only cover AMD’s single GPU parts, as noted in the product chart above. The Radeon HD 7990 retains its existing 8 game (i.e. everything) bundle, in part a consequence of the fact that the coupons for those cards are bundled in the product box itself rather than added by the retailer, and as such cannot be changed by AMD. This also means that the 7990 will continue to have by far the most lucrative bundle, even after the recent AMD price cuts that saw the 7990 drop to as low as $649 after rebate.

Ultimately from a marketing perspective the fact that AMD is renewing the Never Settle program comes as no great surprise, as the game bundle program has been undeniably popular among Radeon buyers. It has been obvious that AMD was going to continue the program in some form considering all the good will and good press it has earned them, so we're glad to see it renewed. At the same time while the pick-your-game model is not groundbreaking (we’ve seen MSI do it before) this is the first time we’ve seen such a program done at the highest levels, and in AMD’s case it’s a simple yet effective change that will reduce buyer concern over duplicate games. Finally with the Forever iteration of the program running until the end of the year, it will be interesting to see what games AMD adds to the program. There are a number of AAA games from AMD’s typical partners due over the next couple of months, so hopefully in light of the loss of Bioshock and Crysis AMD can land some new anchor titles to further augment the program.

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  • blackoctagon - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    Just because you like those kinds of games doesn't mean they're for everyone, mate... Reply
  • Mondozai - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    "Just because you like those kinds of games doesn't mean they're for everyone, mate..."

    Sure, but it's still stupid to buy an AMD card right now when they launch their 9000-series next month. Any reasonably smart buyer should withhold their purchase and see what's around the corner, if you then decide to buy, say, a 7970 or whatever then that's fine. But buying one blindly now would be stupid, whether you're into gaming or not.
    Reply
  • Da W - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    You buy a AMD card if you game on eyefinity. Waiing for Rome 2 with my 3 screen setup, i'd call that be into gaming.
    I've been shooting things since DOOM and Wolfeinstein, what else can BF4 give me?
    Reply
  • Flunk - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    Long and boring cut scenes and a drawn out but still just as meaningless plot.

    And shiny graphics.
    Reply
  • Mondozai - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    lol if you think people play BF4 for plot or cut scenes. Reply
  • yannigr - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    I like seeing AMD continuing being serious in the gaming market. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    I can't help thinking in the same terms I've always thought with game bundles (or pretty much any product bundle) - why don't they just drop the price instead of offering me something I may or may not want? Isn't the ultimate "bundle" here to spend less on the video card and buy the game you want with the money you saved?

    For me, it puts the whole "retail" model in question for it to make more economic sense to offer bundles instead of reduced prices. If it can be given away for no cost to the end user, what is its real value? If the money AMD pays publishers for the games they offer is less than retail (and we of course know it is far less than retail), then why is the publisher dropping the price so much, and what does that mean about the prices I pay for games? Is the "advertising" cost for selling a game at a greatly reduced price to a video card manufacturer really worth it?

    Of course it isn't a simple question, and certainly doesn't have a simple answer; I just wanted to say mostly is that it gets my mental wheels turning, and what I most think about bundles is that they are a waste of my money in some way. Either I don't want the game and AMD is charging me a premium to offer it to other people, or I just paid full price for a retail copy and am wondering why the publisher is letting AMD give it away for "free". I'm not sure who all is picking my pocket here, but I don't like the feeling and wish everyone would stop and just sell me stuff straight up.

    A bundle has never caused me to buy something I otherwise would not have bought.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    "If the money AMD pays publishers for the games they offer is less than retail (and we of course know it is far less than retail), then why is the publisher dropping the price so much, and what does that mean about the prices I pay for games?"

    AMD buys copies of these games in bulk; we're talking 6-7 digits worth of copies in one go. They're getting a discount over retail MSRP because there's no middleman (i.e. retailer) to take a cut, and a further discount for buying in such a large quantity.
    Reply
  • Wreckage - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    Their recent financial report showed the graphics division posting a loss. They may not be paying a lot for these games, but it does not appear to be helping their bottom line either. Reply
  • Bob Todd - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    The answer actually is quite simple, and Ryan has articulated it nicely above. While it would be nicer/easier for the consumer to just get an equivalent price drop, it would have a negative financial impact and that isn't something I really expect or desire either AMD or Nvidia to endure. And the "value" of the bundle is completely dependent on the titles chosen and where they happen to be in the game's release schedule. Never Settle Reloaded was pretty phenomenal (basically unheard of) because it included some combination of 3 available AAA _prerelease_ titles. If you didn't like the games, the codes were easy to sell. I ended up with an extra $100 (after fees) in my pocket for a pair of 7870s. That certainly held value for me. Reply

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