Anyone currently trying to buy an RTX 3070 graphics card likely felt scorned by Zotac USA after they posted a now-deleted tweet that featured a crypto mining rig compromised of Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 30 Series White Edition cards, especially as the controversial marketing tactic directly tagged PC gamers on the post.
Not only does the image indicate the company is more than happy for their gaming range of hardware to be used for such a purpose, but the accompanying message antagonistically tagged various gaming hashtags while endorsing their products for mining.
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A questionable marketing strategy
If you've attempted to buy the new Nvidia RTX 3080 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT GPUs since they released in late 2020, chances are you've experienced how elusive they are and the accompanying frustrations in trying to secure one. While this is due to a combination of issues like scalping and insufficient stock to meet demand, the recent popularity boom for crypto mining and rapidly increasing cryptocurrency prices have been especially contributing to the market scarcity.
There have been public requests from the gaming community for graphics card manufacturers to put more systems in place that would prevent bots and miners from buying up large quantities of stock, but these cries have mostly gone unanswered.
This is sadly understandable from a commercial perspective given that cryptominers are more likely to purchase GPUs at an inflated cost with the knowledge they can recuperate the costs in farmed digital currency.
Despite the clear profitability for manufacturers to continue to sell powerful gaming graphics cards outside of the PC gaming community, the outcry surrounding the lack of support for enthusiasts has been steadily growing over the last few months.
Zotac's questionable marketing strategy has resulted in an overwhelmingly negative backlash on Twitter, will many users calling for a boycott against the company when stock and product prices return to normal.
We've contacted Zotac to find out what the company meant by posting the above tweet, and how it feels about the backlash. We'll update this story when we hear back.
Some hardware companies are looking to fix the ongoing issues by producing separate products for use outside of a gaming environment. MSI is already working on an RTX 3060 designed exclusively for cryptominers, with the hope that more gaming-specific products will be left available for PC gamers to purchase, and we hope to see other producers following MSI's example.
Needless to say, the end to the current shortages is hard to predict and we will likely be hunting for RTX graphics cards for months to come.
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Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.