We've generally considered game bundles a kind of cheesy way for graphics card makers to set their offerings apart from the crowd, but AMD's recent "Never Settle" promotions have changed our minds somewhat.
By packaging up a series of very decent, big-name titles like Crysis 3 and BioShock Infinite, AMD has managed to tip the balance in favor of Radeons over the competing GeForces more than once. We've simply been unable to deny the value involved when choosing components for our system guides and the like. After all, high-end graphics cards are made to play games, and these are the sorts of games one buys a high-end graphics card to play.
AMD appears to like the way these promos have been working, because it's just announced the third installation of its game-bundling promo, dubbed "Never Settle Forever." This version of the plan is a little bit different, offering Radeon buyers the chance to choose one to three games from a broader selection of offerings.
There are three tiers to the program, depending on which sort of Radeon you buy. Folks who purchase a Radeon HD 7700-series card can choose one game from any of the following:
Radeon HD 7800 buyers can choose two games from an expanded slate:
Folks who pony up the cash for an HD 7900-series Radeon can pick three titles from a list of nine:
Meanwhile, the Radeon HD 7990 will retain its borderline-scandalous eight-game bundle, rather than opt into the new program.
The coupon codes for bundled games will either come in the box with new Radeon graphics cards or will be distributed to customers separately, depending on how the retailer prefers to operate. Customers must register their bundles via an AMD-run web portal. Via that website, users may choose the games they wish to own and, when ready, redeem their credits to receive game keys for Steam or various publisher-created
crimes against humanity services, like Uplay.
If you've browsed through the lists above, you've probably noticed that Never Settle Forever's selection consists entirely of games offered in past AMD bundles, without adding anything new. The selection isn't bad—it includes some truly decent games—but they are old, and two of the best Never Settle Reloaded titles, Crysis 3 and BioShock Infinite, are conspicuous by their absence.
AMD's Robert Hallock tells us the Never Settle Reloaded bronze, silver, and gold tiers are meant to offer value equivalent to $50, $110, and $150, respectively. Given the age of these games, though, the effective value isn't nearly that high anymore. Not only have many of them been available for under 10 bucks in the Steam Summer Sale, but they're also quite cheap at places like Amazon every day. Deus Ex: HR lists for $13.51 right now. Sleeping Dogs will set you back $15.57, and Hitman Absolution is available for 20 bucks.
In fact, by shopping only at Amazon, as of today, you can purchase all nine of the current gold-tier games for a grand total of $217.42, without any coupon codes or special discounts.
Fortunately, AMD does plan to add more games to the mix as time passes. Hallock says those games could include Crysis 3 and BioShock Infinite. He also tells us new games still selling at full retail prices will join the selection "at multiple points" in the future.
We just don't know what those games will be, which presents would-be Radeon buyers with an interesting dilemma. Coupon holders who have registered at AMD's web portal will have the option of delaying a while before pulling the trigger and receiving their game codes. Someone who buys a new Radeon now and isn't taken with the selection could conceivably wait for a new crop of games to arrive later this year. The catch is that coupon holders must redeem their rewards and receive codes for all of their games at once. That means, for instance, that a Radeon HD 7950 owner couldn't grab Tomb Raider and DMC today and wait until fall to see if BF4 joins the mix. He'd kind of have to bet that better games will join the tier later—and that the others he wants won't drop out.
Given how cheap most of the current games tend to be, I think I'd take my chances with waiting at present. The coupons will eventually expire, though. AMD says users can track the time remaining on their coupons via the web portal.
For what it's worth—and because we actually asked Hallock this silly question—this new promo isn't intended to go on indefinitely, despite the "Forever" in its name. The new title just marks the latest incarnation of the Never Settle program, not some intention to create a rolling bundle program that lasts into eternity.