Game developers and graphics card companies have done deals with each other since the dawn of the consumer 3D graphics industry. In some cases, buying a video card with a packed-in title was how a gamer got their first 3D-accelerated game. It’s not uncommon to see Intel or AMD CPUs offered with various games, either.
All of which is to say: When news broke earlier this month about a new lineup of Intel-themed Core products to coincide with the launch of Marvel’s Avengers, I nodded and didn’t think much of it. It’s a nifty little idea to put some unique art on CPU boxes for people who were going to build new computers anyway, but happen to like a specific game.
© 2020 MARVEL pic.twitter.com/FKKAeZzqy3
— Intel Gaming ✨ #IntelGamerDays (@IntelGaming) August 14, 2020
Except, as it turns out, the new Intel / Avengers CPUs don’t actually come with the game.
See the tiny disclaimer in the lower-left-hand corner of the packaging? Under higher magnification, it reads “Game Not Included.” This was also confirmed on Twitter by a gamer who saw a clearer shot of the packaging.
There’s nothing wrong with selling people art, but it isn’t typically sold on pieces of single-ply cardboard with product information printed all over it.
This is a genuinely weird promotion, and while it’s not exactly the FDIV bug, it doesn’t make Intel look great. It’s not that there’s something wrong with the silicon (identical to standard) or the price (identical), but what, exactly, is the point of the promotion if Intel isn’t going to distribute some kind of something a person might want — and why go to the trouble to hire an artist if people who buy the product don’t get an unblemished copy?
Marvel’s Avengers launches on September 4 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia. Reviews on the game in its beta phase were mixed in a way that suggests the game will appeal more strongly to players who don’t mind a fair bit of grinding. The general opinion on the game as of two weeks ago might be fairly summarized as: “Has promise, but still needs work.”
We’ll see what kind of Avengers Crystal Dynamics has managed to assemble in about two weeks.
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