I just got home from AMD's APU13 event with some kind of cold or flu or crazy mutant strep throat, so I'll keep this simple. You know how all Radeon R9-series cards were supposed to be bundled with Battlefield 4? Yeah, turns out that's not the case. Only some cards from some card vendors are meant to ship with the game—and judging by current listings at Newegg, BF4 bundles are few and far between.
Here's AMD's statement on the subject:
An email sent by an AMD PR representative to press last Friday that provided details on AMD's Battlefield 4 promotion was not clear and has led to come confusion in the marketplace. It suggested that all customers who purchased an AMD Radeon R9 series graphics card on or after November 13, 2013 would receive a complimentary copy of Battlefield 4. While all AMD Radeon R9 series cards are theoretically eligible for the promotion (which is administered by AMD's channel partners), retailers and add-in-board partners ultimately decide which select AMD Radeon R9 SKUs will include a copy of BF4.
As with all limited promotions, it's important that customers ensure that the specific product they're purchasing qualifies for the promotion, and that they're buying from a participating retailer during the promotion period. Also, it is critical to note that this promotion is only valid while supplies last. To make it easier for our community to identify bundled products, BF4-qualifying SKUs and promotions of which AMD is aware will be posted on the portal below over the coming days and weeks, as soon as AMD is advised of their activation by its channel partners. Check http://www.amd.com/battlefield4 for more details and for full promotion terms and conditions.
The statement pins the blame entirely on an unclear e-mail. That would make sense if we'd received a single, poorly worded message from a lone AMD PR guy, but that wasn't the case. The first e-mail we received was from AMD's PR Lead for Gaming and Enthusiast Graphics; it was 485 words long, included an eight-page PDF slide deck with details about the bundling offer, and stated the following: "First, if a gamer purchases any AMD Radeon™ R9 Series product starting 11/13, they will get a copy of Battlefield 4 with that purchase." Then, during the period leading up to the Radeon R9 270's launch, we received another e-mail from another AMD PR Manager that stated in part, "[J]ust a gentle reminder that the R9 270 carries the Battlefield 4 bundle." It seems to us that there was some internal confusion about the offer when those messages were sent.
These e-mails and that slide deck influenced the conclusion of our R9 270 review. In that article, we recommended the new AMD card over its Nvidia rival, the GeForce GTX 660, partly due to the appeal of the Radeon's game bundle. AMD made no attempt to offer clarifying information about the bundle until we e-mailed them this afternoon, after Nvidia alerted us to the lack of BF4 bundles in Newegg's Radeon R9 270 listings. (I would have checked sooner myself if I hadn't been traveling this week.)
As of right now, Newegg has three R9 270 cards in stock (one Asus, one HIS, and one Gigabyte), and not a single one of them comes with BF4. The game bundle is also absent from the one R9 270 that's not in stock—MSI's version of card.
So, yeah, this kinda changes things. The R9 270 is still faster than the GTX 660 overall, but every last GTX 660 in stock at Newegg right now ships with Nvidia's holiday bundle, which includes free copies of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Splinter Cell Blacklist. You also get a $50 discount if you purchase a GTX 660 as a combo with Nvidia's Shield handheld console.
Now, there is a silver lining to this story. Sort of. While AMD's announcement from earlier this week ruled out retroactive BF4 bundles for folks who'd already purchased R9-series cards, the company now intends to give away 1,000 BF4 codes through Facebook and Twitter:
We've also received many inquires via email and through Facebook and Twitter from customers who have already purchased an AMD Radeon R9 series graphics card, and are inquiring if the BF4 bundle will be made retroactive. Due to contractual agreements with EA/Dice, AMD was unable to make the BF4 promotion available before November 13th. However, as a gesture of goodwill towards our loyal fans, AMD will be giving away 1000 BF4 codes through our social media channels over the coming weeks. Details will be available soon at www.facebook.com/amdgaming and on www.twitter.com/amdradeon.
It doesn't sound like only owners of R9-series cards will be eligible, but hey, at least some of them will get freebies they weren't previously entitled to—or mistakenly thought they were.