AMD Launches AMD Game! With System Builder Push

Advanced Micro Devices on Monday announced AMD Game!, a new marketing initiative through which AMD will badge mainstream desktop computers that meet certain platform requirements as ready to play top PC video games.

The initial phase of the campaign is focused on boutique system builders like Alienware and Velocity Micro, said Brent Barry, desktop product manager at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD.

"Monday when we launch, we'll have product on the shelf, or the virtual shelf of e-tailers. We immediately have 12 boutique system builders offering AMD Game! and AMD Game! Ultra solutions," Barry said. Online distribution brokers like NewEgg and TigerDirect would also have parts available for system builders to put together AMD Game!-badged PCs, he said.

"Right at the opening of the launch, it's system builder and e-tailer focused. The later push will be more mainstream," Barry said.

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The purpose of AMD Game!, which AMD will advertise both in mainstream media and with specialist gaming vehicles such as GameInformer magazine and online console game retailer GameFly, is to introduce casual PC and console gamers to affordable mainstream PC gaming systems, Barry said. While AMD continues to focus on the high-end enthusiast segment of the gaming market, the chip maker saw an opportunity for its processor and graphics platforms with casual gamers whom its numbers suggest make up a full 75 percent of that market.

Requirements for AMD Game!-badged systems start with a hardware platform consisting of a dual-core Athlon 5600 processor, ATI Radeon HD 3650 graphics and either AMD's own 770 chipset or Nvidia's nForce 500 series. Going beyond the minimum system requirements, Barry said AMD's real push will be with its new Phenom triple-core CPUs.

"AMD Game's low end is dual-core, but you can take the platform up to a Phenom triple-core and improve the graphics if you want. We also expect to see a lot of AMD 780G chipsets. The real sweet spot for us is that triple-core zone," Barry said.

"When we made the decisions around AMD Game!, I made my first recommendations around the Phenom X3. It was what I wanted to sell. But when we started talking to customers and software developers, the feedback was consistent. It doesn't matter what you want to sell, it matters what people want. People want a dual-core. So we went back took the feedback in and put together a dual-core platform as a minimum requirement package."

Sitting atop the new initiative is AMD Game! Ultra, with which the chip maker will badge systems that meet minimum hardware requirements of a quad-core Phenom 9650 chip, ATI Radeon HD 3870 graphics and the 770 chipset.

AMD will also require that a system's chassis and power supply be up to snuff to receive an AMD Game! or AMD Game! Ultra badge, Barry said.

Barry said co-op advertising dollars were readily available for system builders interested in AMD Game! He said that in addition to system badges, the initiative sought to draw casual gamers into online communities which help to drive their purchasing decisions.

"Community in gaming is hugely important. Gamers tend to find themselves pulled into the community wrapped around the game they're playing and games in general," he said. "Getting systems up to date with monthly driver downloads is key. Influential gamers in those communities can help point mainstream users to gaming and this AMD initiative."