Another graphics card release has come and gone, and another “sold out instantly” event has occurred. This time, with AMD’s RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT graphics cards.

This is leading enthusiasts around the web to believe contrary to AMD’s claims, this launch was indeed nothing more than a paper launch. The cards went live at 6am PT this morning (November 18th) and as soon as the clock ticked from 5:59 to 6:00, all RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT sold out instantaneously.

Well, not everywhere sold out, technically. Best Buy has yet to update their listings from “coming soon” which seems indicative that they either have no stock or haven’t yet realized these cards have released.

What is a paper launch? Basically, a paper launch is when supplies are so limited that “no one” has a real chance of getting one, the only way to hear about it is through “paper sources”, like the media, press, etc. And no, I’m none of the above. This was as much of a paper launch for me, as it was for you.

However, Frank Azor, Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions and Marketing (quite the title, Mr.Azor) denies all allegations of this being a paper launch on the basis of semantics. To Mr.Azor, a paper launch is when there are zero products, not just such a limited amount that only 10 people get one. Semantics, Mr.Azor, semantics.

In his tweet he said, “Paper launch has always meant to me no supply. We are producing chips & cards in volume. The demand for gaming devices has grown exponentially this year & beyond anyone’s best forecasts. We want nothing more than to put more cards in the hands of gamers. Working to do so.”

I believe “post launch” is a little to late to be working on making your launch real, and not paper. Regardless, a “paper launch” doesn’t mean zero products, it means such an insanely limited amount that no one really has a chance of getting one – like this launch and like Nvidia’s 3000-series cards were.

Some vendors didn’t even bother listing AMD’s RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT cards, others didn’t bother changing the listing status from “coming soon”. B&H Photo created a special page to explain the shortage of RX 6800 and 6800 XT cards, as an example. Best Buy, as of now, only has AIB cards listed and marked as “coming soon”.

Based on what we’ve watched happen with Nvidia’s 3000-series, I’m not confident that we’ll be seeing stock of the RX 6800 or RX 6800 XT anytime soon, not without seeing a 1.5-2x premium slapped on top of the MSRP.

If you disagree, let me know why in the comments!

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