Did Gigabyte India REALLY give away premium motherboards for MESC 2014???

Gigabyte India and other sponsors were associated with MESC 2014 gaming tournament where they claimed to have received as many as 135 teams in total, out of 80 teams for CS 1.6 and 55 for DOTA 2.

Unfortunately, Gigabyte India’s management has gone down to a level where you have to use the word ‘claim’- because their words are no longer credible, especially what they did recently by allegedly lying in the following press release.

In a press release, Gigabyte India claimed to have given its premium motherboards  to gamers. Model numbers, quantity, which clan/winners, etc. not given away. Who will not do that for PR/marketing purposes???

The only photographs that I found to remotely link such claim is a picture of a clan of 5 members holding a Gigabyte A75M-D2H and a Gigabyte A55M-S2V motherboard, which is anything but premium. What was also discovered that those who have won these motherboards were actually the ones who hosted the same event, with a different name.

There were few more photographs which shows that Gigabyte India management was giving away some sort of a trinket to other winners, and not motherboards. There were no other photographs which shows that Gigabyte were giving away more motherboards. Not even in their Facebook page, the event’s Facebook page- or the organizer’s facebook page.

This doubt triggered a series of conversation via email because I was interested to post this provided that my doubts can be laid to rest. The first email that was sent to Gigabyte India yielded no reply for a while, after which a follow up mail was sent to Gigabyte India and Gigabyte Taiwan, to which (and as expected) the Indian management responded.

Just like the vague claim made in the press release, the Indian management did the same. At first they’ve denied everything, even claiming that according to the event organizers, they didn’t participate. Since they made a denial via email to have done so, I’ve provided all the proof that strongly indicated otherwise: photographs of the players and the organizers, facebook messages, facebook wall posts, etc.

After probing Gigabyte India also claimed to have given 10 motherboards, out of which few of them were Intel 7 Series. Gigabyte India is now following a practice where they try to be as vague as possible, hoping that it would fill the doubts and take down my suspicion. Unfortunately for them, it did the opposite.

From a PR perspective, who will not mention the complete details of winnings: which clan received which winnings, etc? Logitech India sponsored a tournament recently where they have mention the specific details of the winners, and the tournament winning details was posted in a format that everyone can understand. Though this is something that organizers need to take care of, I find it odd that it didn’t get into the sponsor’s attention. Why would you not do that, unless one is hiding something.

I know the person who organized Logitech’s tournament, and I would like to say kudos considering the opposite is done by a tier 1 motherboard brand.

In the end, Gigabyte India said that they will ‘refer to the MESC rulebook’. It should be noted that this tournament did not have any rules or regulations of the tournament posted in MESC’s website at the time of writing and the tournament or in its Facebook page. Up to this point, I’ve decided to discontinue this conversation because my suspicions were confirmed by the way they’re trying to deflect series of questions followed by proofs and screenshots. The management kept on denying and cover it with misinformation until the point the proof was giving, and the usual ‘sweeping under the carpet’ one-liners was used.

Mind you, this is the same management where I’ve wrote an open letter earlier, and rather than improving, they’ve went far worse. This was the same brand that gave a defective motherboard for a review and was brushing it under the carpet for a long time until I forced to provoke a response, to which they said they can’t replace the G1 Sniper 5. I came to know through other people that the same defective motherboard was sent to another publication, who reported the same. Long time ago, I’ve highlighted the point where Gigabyte India gave away an obsolete motherboard in a college tournament. If that doesn’t clear everything, Gigabyte did a contest in Erodov which was concluded in August 15th, 2013. The results were declared on 28th, but Gigabyte failed to give motherboards to the respected winners until the point that I’ve highlighted it in March 2014 via Facebook, to which they decided to wake up almost immediately. With respects, if you think that you’re doing a favour by sponsoring tournaments and contests, no you’re not. You’re sponsoring in exchange for product placement and exposure in that particular venue/crowd/college/ forum! If you can’t do things properly, respectfully don’t do it.

Personally, if a management doesn’t know what its doing and has an issue replacing one of their motherboards, imagine the possible experience that an end user may have to go through when replacing his motherboard.

To add further, not many people are happy with Gigabyte India either. Tournament organizers who confirmed that the questioned clan playing their hosted events have added that Gigabyte India always prefers to give one motherboard to a clan of 5 members, and always disregarded to confirm specific details: model numbers, specs., etc. Though the product placement of a motherboard is somewhat a hard sell in a tournament, everyone tried to go ahead with the plan in an interest to encourage a brand to be more involved. There was also a complaint from a distributor of a well known chassis maker, who wanted to push mini-ITX case in India. But apparently the management didn’t reply to 5 emails that was sent.

Still, I have nothing against Gigabyte India as a brand. They do make good motherboards, and I really feel that they should have already  introduced BRIX units in India by now, seeing that many folks are more interested in smaller-sized gaming PCs, if its priced reasonably. But I feel that the management seem to be more interested in just clicking pictures and seeing it to be posted around so that their upper management will be satisfied, not knowing the finer details which proves otherwise. I have nothing against gamers who start event management companies for hosting tournaments- except that you’re playing your own tournament. It is a general rule that the employees of the sponsors, the event management and even the venue are not supposed to participate in the tournament or the contests, and sometimes even social media giveaways.

Why do they have to give a series of misinformation to cover this up? What about those 10 premium motherboards? Who knows! Your guess is as good as mine, though for few of us who know how does a particular individual work in reality, its not surprising. All I wanted to do was to highlight the fact, so that LAN gamers can check the finer prints and make the decision to participate in such contests accordingly. We had disasters like Indian Gaming Carnival few years ago, so we should all learn something. One thing is for certain is that Gigabyte doesn’t want feedback, rather needs blings, props and stuff so that they can click photographs and put up misleading press releases.

I also request fellow Tech writers and journalists to be very careful before publishing press releases or any information from any company in general, and confirm the claims being made. Though not many do this, it should be ensured that this is followed throughout the way.

You could say that that I am giving ‘tough love’ to Gigabyte India, but knowing that they went worse than before I don’t think they’re interested to learn and improve. Question one has to ask if one should even waste their time in giving feedback or advice? I hope the respected management doesn’t tell people to pose with a box for a photo shoot to remove any doubts raised in any future events or promotions. All the more reason that one will find it difficult to trust what Gigabyte India claims. I request Gigabyte India to do the needful, for their sake!

Edit 1 (09.06.2014): Right now its reached to a point that people from both sides are making new claims. However, this is what we came to know so far-

1. The one who prepared the press release assumed that the meaning of premium means “High Quality”.

2. All the 10 motherboards from Gigabyte were given to the one who hosted the event.

3. Gigabyte India also didn’t know what happened to those motherboards since, even at the time distributing prizes to winners.

4. It is now being claimed that a particular gaming clan won/‘won‘ a total of 7 motherboards. Not surprisingly, its the same clan that hosted the same event. Its strange to know that a clan of 5 gamers won 7 motherboards. That doesn’t make sense, since the tournament hosted 2 games: DOTA2 and CS 1.6, both of which requires a team of 5 members.

5. It is now known that the event manager claimed to have received 3-4 Gigabyte ‘Premium motherboards’ and said that there is some misunderstanding from Gigabyte. He also added that “no worries still all motherboards support i3 – i7″. Its obvious till now that they’re not familiar with the basics and difference between AMD and Intel chipset motherboards.  Though its strange to see why would Gigabyte India claimed to have given 10 motherboards, and the director of the event management claiming to have received 3-4 motherboards, contradicting their own claim that their clan of 5 have won 7 motherboards.

It is also being told that Gigabyte India’s PR manager AnilKumar has the list of winners and prize distribution. However, up to now Gigabyte India did not share this list. I am not sure why would a brand not declare results in a press release, though I have my own reasons to doubt that any list given now is the result of fabrication to match with the information at hand.

However, we have received a picture of Zotac Zbox units that was given to winners during the tournament:

10314539_496357107132887_7387140740298100669_nIts very shocking to see that Zotac India would have given ZBox units to the winners in this condition, where the winners claimed that it was used. But we’ve sent a mail to Zotac India for a clarification.

Edit 2 (09.06.2014):  Zotac India gave the following response:

I am sure I have not distributed any product in the attached condition to anyone. For MESC I had given the products in good condition with proper packaging. Also, ZOTAC wasn’t informed who won the Boxes. The decision was entirely MESC’s

CaptureJust to point out, the photo originated from MESC’s Facebook page, which makes it odd why would this photo was used to promote especially when Zotac assured that they have given ZBox units with proper packaging.

Edit 3: The organizer (Ashwin Jain responded on behalf of Cyber Gaming Entertainment, that’s owned by Bhavesh Nachnani) who at first wanted to keep this conversation via phone have said via Facebook that DOTA 2 was held online, and that the decision was welcomed by the sponsors and the teams. Gigabyte who is deemed as a ‘Gold Sponsor’ said that  they were not being told about this by the organizers, and that they’re not at all happy.

To give a closure to this circus, I would like to say that at the end of the day company personnel should concentrate on whether gamers have received what they should rather than finding people whom to play a finger pointing game and pass the buck. What’s also shocking is that at first Gigabyte India defended the inconsistencies, and tried to sweep under the carpet by saying ‘We’ll refer to the rulebook’ which never existed in the first place. This is also to highlight that the Tier 1 brand is planning to have a user’s meet by next week with Colin Brix with the hopes that they can collect valuable feedback. It was being said within the management to make sure that I was not invited. Ironically, for a brand that wants to do so, they don’t seem to be too keen on it in reality- unless they can take a photo out of it for a press release. One has to wonder if its really worth giving feedback to such management???

We also hope that other brands, especially the competitors, learn a valuable lesson from this and does what it should. I clearly remember not-too-long-ago when another motherboard brand tried to defame one of the LN2 overclockers by spreading misinformation within a closed enthusiast group, and also created a series of discomfort between him and his partner to the point that his partner stopped talking to him. Whats shocking is that it practically looked as if the entire management was out to get him, and when I talked about it in Facebook page, they decided to blacklist Hardware BBQ. Very mature, indeed!

An impression is made that most of the Indian management isn’t being completely truthful about their operations in regards to PR and marketing, and when such information is forwarded to them, they are being ignored. As a Scorch Earth policy, there have been times where writers, bloggers and reviewers like me are labelled as brand bashers and mischief mongers. Sadly, what they don’t realize is that in the long term, it going to hit right back at them. Quality of promotion and information becomes substandard, and enthusiasts’ interest in DIY PC degrades. When it affects their yearly sales profit, they begin to wonder what went wrong. Brilliant!

We also hope that other people, writers and bloggers smarten up and highlight such inconsistencies, rather than writing good things about something that in reality is a messy affair with a fear that they might not get an ‘opportunity’ to cover an event- or to get samples from sponsors for reviews or promotional contests- or advertisements.

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