Because the world desperately needed another GPU people can’t actually buy, AMD decided to release a limited-edition “Midnight Black” version of its Radeon RX 6800 XT early Wednesday morning, where it sold out before most people even saw the card was there.
You might be thinking: “Why would you release a limited-edition version of something that’s practically a collector’s piece even without a new coat of paint?” (AMD’s recent GPUs are even rarer than Nvidia’s, though both currently command two to three times their retail price on eBay.)
Or you might be thinking: “When, exactly, did AMD announce a new GPU? I don’t remember that.” That’s because the company didn’t formally announce it: according to VideoCardz, AMD quietly told its “AMD Red Team community” fanbase by email at around midnight that they should watch for the card at 6AM PT, an announcement that did not stay under wraps, to put it mildly.
Personally, I’m just wondering: If AMD actually wanted to put video cards in the hands of its fans, why not verify their emails, or email out unique, non-transferrable passwords, or raffle them off, or do basically anything other than put them on the same website where bots, scalpers, and everyone else already knows to look — a website that some people have their browser set to refresh all day long?
#GameOnAMD Sums up the experience. Red Team link was to a page you can’t buy from, only way I saw was from main store, and add to cart never worked. Cool. I feel so included in this exclusive offer. pic.twitter.com/YomensLwQY
— Jon VR Viking (@Bounty_V) April 7, 2021
There are potential solutions to these issues, but the gaming industry does not seem to be terribly interested in finding them. Still, gotta give credit to AMD for selling it at the original retail price of $649 instead of charging more.
It’s not clear how many Midnight Black cards were produced; at press time, two buyers were trying to hawk their confirmed orders on eBay, while a third had pulled their listing due to an unspecified error.
AMD tells The Verge it’s “continuing to focus on delivering the latest Radeon graphics cards to as many gamers as possible at SEP,” and counts the brief appearance of the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Midnight Black as part of that.
“We continue to make reference cards available on AMD.com and will continue to replenish supply for the foreseeable future,” the company says, something it had not managed to do the last time I wrote about a similar claim. Since then, however, AMD has (very briefly) delivered supplies of GPUs at least three times that I’m aware of.