The program works like this; any PC manufacturer looking to participate in the AMD GAME! program must meet these minimum requirements:

The GAME! Ultra logo actually has some pretty decent minimum requirements; a Phenom X4 9650, while not the fastest quad-core CPU available today, is more than sufficient for mainstream gaming. More importantly, the Radeon HD 3870 is a good enough GPU for the vast majority of titles today. The AMD 770 chipset choice is also a solid one.

The standard AMD GAME! logo unfortunately has more lax requirements; all you need to get this logo is an Athlon X2 5600+ and a Radeon HD 3650 as well as an AMD 770 or nForce 500 series chipset. A PC bearing the regular GAME! logo is better than your run of the mill desktop with integrated graphics, but honestly I'd prefer for there only to be one logo and for it to carry as much weight as the GAME! Ultra spec.

AMD comes up with these requirements by running a number of benchmarks internally with the following requirements:

1600 x 1200, default settings at above 30 fps (average frame rate) for AMD GAME! Ultra
1280 x 1024, default settings at above 30 fps (average frame rate) for AMD GAME!

The titles AMD tests internally are Quake Wars, Half Life 2 Episode Two, World of Warcraft, Lineage II, Call of Duty 4, Sins of a Solar Empire, Command & Conquer 3, Sims 2 Deluxe and Zoo Tycoon 2. While AMD obviously runs even more benchmarks internally, these nine titles are the ones that it uses in determining the minimum hardware requirements for the GAME! and GAME! Ultra logos. The 30 fps limit isn't actually a hard limit since the vanilla AMD GAME! spec doesn't always meet it, but the goal is to get as close to it as possible.

The benchmarks themselves are manual runthroughs of the games. Each game is played for a total of 30 minutes, three times, with the average frame rates recorded and averaged. An individual tester is assigned to each game/benchmark to maintain some level of consistency. Since AMD isn't really comparing hardware here and just making sure the games meet a minimum level of experience, this relatively unscientific approach to testing works just fine. And if you're wondering, should the tester die in the middle of the demo run the results are thrown out and a new run is recorded.

AMD selects the titles for its GAME! logo program based on sales data/popularity across some of the most popular genres of PC games. The games list will be updated approximately twice a year, with the first update to the program coming in early 2009.

This combination of data ensures that, for the most part, people who buy PCs with the GAME! Ultra logo will get a good gaming experience on current titles, at default settings, at 1600 x 1200. Those who buy PCs with the regular GAME! logo should also be guaranteed a good experience, albeit at 1280 x 1024 instead.

AMD will also be placing GAME! Ready logos on peripherals (e.g. mice, keyboards) that meet a separate set of standards. AMD has devised a list of requirements for these peripherals such as requiring that drivers install properly, docking stations for wireless mice and the ability to have up to 5 keys depressed at once on a gaming keyboard without triggering an error. These sorts of functional requirements are actually pretty impressive for AMD and it could mean that peripherals with the AMD GAME! Ready logo are actually a cut above the average.

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  • Locutus465 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    If AMD works more closely with Microsoft's games for windows inititive actually I think the majority of the real pc gaming issues will be solved (regardless of our personal opinion's about DRM)....

    One interesting solution might be, extend the Vista DRM system to include game content protection, make sure there's a good disaster recovery senerio in place. Something akin to what microsoft does with Zune or apple does with iTunes, i.e. DRMed content can be (re)activated on your PC as long as you can authenticate that your PC is an autherized machine. That way you don't loose all your save games etc should you decide to upgrade your motherboard (as I did recently) there by invalidating your system's DRM.
    Reply
  • brian_riendeau - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Well they already shot themselves in the foot with this one by designating one of the specs to already be "ULTRA". I think they would have been better off with simple AMD Game 1.0, 2.0... Also I think everyone can remember how AMD Live was supposed to be a good idea and that failed too. Reply
  • Staples - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    Windows Vista's hardware assessment numbers are still a much better indication of performance than AMD's certification. I think Vista's performance numbers should include more detailed info than they currecntly do but as small as they are now, they still provide better info than "AMD Game Ultra." Reply
  • chick0n - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    AMD Game? no Thx, After they screwed me over in the 4x4 crap?

    AMD has this problem as they just do some paper launch, get the media attention they want, then they will turn around and completely ignore their promises. Look at 4x4.

    Im still using my 4x4 but, not gonna count on anything AMD announce.
    Reply
  • Locutus465 - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I'm sorry... But you're complaining about paper launches due to how you were screwed with 4x4 and then talking about how you're actually still using the platform? Comon now... If you're using the HW in your home right now then it wasn't a paper launch was it? Reply
  • tayhimself - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    AMD is now a chartware powerhouse. The merger with ATI has taken their chartware to unprecedented heights.
    DO NOT WANT!!!
    Reply
  • Noya - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    I wish Anandtech would disclose how much they're paid for each "article"...right next to the "authors" name. Just like presidential candidates should have to disclose every bit of cash they get. Reply
  • chizow - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    To be fair, AT also did a piece on NV's ESA certification branding, which isn't much more exciting.

    Anand is certainly entitled to any perks he gets from running a great site, but ya I would've rather seen this space filled with RV770 specs and discussion.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 19, 2008 - link

    It's something pertinent to computer enthusiasts, so we discussed it. If Intel comes out with their alternative to "GAME!" tomorrow, we'd likely have an article on that as well. It's part of covering the computer technology market.

    I can tell you how much companies have paid me for my articles since starting with AnandTech: $0. The same goes for the rest of us. Advertising is totally separate, and I don't even pay attention to what's there (like most readers I'm sure). About the only perk (other than paychecks from AnandTech) is getting to play with some of the latest and greatest hardware -- and working from home. Those are, of course, pretty huge perks. :-)

    Personally, static definitions for the gaming market are way too complex IMO. What would be far better is if gaming companies would get on board with these definitions. Then we could have AMD (or Intel) release basic levels like "Game! - Mainstream 2007", "Game! - Performance 2007", etc. and update those each year. "Game! - Performance 2007" may end up being about the same as "Game! - Mainstream 2008", but as long as the box points at a specific specification users should be better off.

    Frankly, the current "This game requires a DX9 card with 128MB RAM" is woefully inadequate. I like the theory of what AMD is doing; it's getting representation for lots of other games into the mix that concerns me. HL2 EP2 isn't nearly as demanding as Crysis or World in Conflict - or several other titles we could list. Don't even get me started on including WoW, Zoo Tycoon 2, Sims 2, and Sins of a Solar Empire -- those are fine games for a lot of people (although I only play Sins much), but all should run fine on pretty moderate hardware. We also don't know what settings they're using; Sins at minimum details is different than Sins at maximum details for example.

    What I'd really love is to see CrossFire and SLI support that actually fully work out of the box without a driver update and without tweaking any profiles or renaming an executable. But that's a different market segment.
    Reply
  • ap90033 - Thursday, May 22, 2008 - link

    You go Jarred! You guys do a wonderful job and I appreciate all the information you pass along to us. Reply

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