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Nvidia apologise for RTX 3080 launch, saying "we were not prepared"

A photo showing the RTX 3080 on its side

Nvidia have apologised for last week’s “frustrating” RTX 3080 launch, stating that demand for their new flagship GPU was “overwhelming” and that “we were not prepared for this level [of enthusiasm], nor were our partners.” The apology was posted on their GeForce blog earlier today, answering community questions such as what the overall RTX 3080 stock situation is like at the moment, and why their own ‘Notify Me’ emails were so slow to being sent out. Here’s what they have to say about it.

Ironically, Nvidia start their apology / Q&A post by saying it was “simultaneously the best GPU launch ever and the most frustrating,” although surely a “best ever” launch should mean no hiccups whatsoever. As you may recall, the RTX 3080 quickly sold out when it went on sale last Thursday, with US retailer Newegg reporting it took all of five minutes for their inventory to fly off their digital shelves. Even now there are precious few places where you can actually buy an RTX 3080 without waiting months for more stock to arrive.

According to Nvidia, demand for the RTX 3080 “was truly unprecedented” when it launched at the end of last week, and “we and our partners underestimated it”.

“We expected the best ever demand for the RTX 30-series, but the enthusiasm was overwhelming. We were not prepared for this level, nor were our partners. We apologize for this.”

As for the overall stock situation right now, Nvidia say that the RTX 3080 “is in full production”, but fail to provide a full picture of what that actually means in practice. Instead, all they offer in their apology is this:

“We began shipping GPUs to our partners in August, and have been increasing the supply weekly. Partners are also ramping up capacity to meet the unprecedented demand. We understand that many gamers are unable to buy a GeForce RTX 3080 right now and we are doing everything we can to catch up quickly. Keep checking in with your favourite retailer to be notified of availability.”

Nvidia also insists they “have great supply – just not for this level of demand,” which, again, rather runs contrary to the idea of having “great” supply. Either way, they claim they’re “ramping as hard as they can” to get the new RTX 3080 GPUs out the door, and kindly “suggest not buying from opportunistic resellers who are attempting to take advantage of the current situation.” Who’d have thought, eh?

Indeed, Nvidia admit even their own store was “overrun with malicious bots and resellers” on the day of release, which also makes you wonder how they can say it’s a “best ever” launch. To combat this in the future – presumably in preparation for the RTX 3090 launch later this week on Thursday September 24th, and the RTX 3070 launch next month, – Nvidia have now moved their store to “a dedicated environment with increased capacity and more bot protection.” Nvidia say they’ve also integrated CAPTCHA at checkout to help weed out those pesky bots and implemented “additional security protections to the store APIs”, although they don’t specify what those protections actually are.

As for why those ‘Notify Me’ emails were never sent on time, Nvidia claim they intended these notifications to go out at 6am last Thursday – the time the RTX 3080 went on sale – but “due to the extreme demand and site traffic, we were unable to properly process orders on time.”

The emails were held back until the errors were resolved later than morning. Still, inventory sold out very quickly, so we were sold out by time most people opened their emails. In retrospect, we should not have sent the “Notify Me” emails.

In a way, it’s not entirely surprising the RTX 3080 launch was such a disaster from a stock point of view. There were already reports weeks beforehand suggesting that it was going to be one of the smallest ever launches for an Nvidia GPU, and that it could be 2021 before the masses would be able to get hold of one. It will be interesting to see if the RTX 3090 and RTX 3070 subsequently fall into the same kind of trouble as the RTX 3080, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation later this week.

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Katharine Castle

Hardware Editor

Katharine writes about all the bits that go inside your PC so you can carry on playing all those lovely games we like talking about so much. Very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests. She's also RPS' resident deals herald.

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