Computer chip purveyor AMD has secured the licences to provide the next generation of consoles with its processing and graphics hardware. The PlayStation 4 will be running AMD for both tasks, as, it’s rumoured, will Microsoft’s next generation Xbox. Even Nintendo’s Wii U uses AMD graphics hardware. In short, AMD owns the next generation of consoles.
It could even impact future PC games. Right off the bat, games primarily developed for consoles will be optimised for AMD hardware, and Pc games will be able to make use of the optimisation. It could spell trouble for its biggest competitor, Nvidia.
While Nvidia supplied the graphics hardware for the PlayStation 3, it won’t be doing the same in the next gen. Nvidia’s now downplaying AMD triumph; saying that next-gen partnerships weren’t worthwhile.
"I’m sure there was a negotiation that went on," Tony Tamasi, a senior Nvidia exec told GameSpot, "and we came to the conclusion that we didn’t want to do the business at the price those guys were willing to pay".
"Having been through the original Xbox and PS3, we understand the economics of [console development] and the tradeoffs," he added.
So it’s a money thing then? Nvidia seems to not be to upset about losing out on hitting the next-gen big time – but there does seem to be an inkling of sour grapes. I think this nonchalance is a facade.
"We’re building a whole bunch of stuff," he said. "In the end, you only have so many engineers and so much capability, and if you’re going to go off and do chips for Sony or Microsoft, then that’s probably a chip that you’re not doing for some other portion of your business.
"And at least in the case of Sony and Nvidia, in terms of PS4, AMD has the business and Nvidia doesn’t. We’ll see how that plays out from a business perspective I guess. It’s clearly not a technology thing."
Instead Nvidia will be focusing its technology on joining the console race itself - with its handheld, Android powered streaming wonder The Shield – a device that I’m struggling to find any real enthusiasm for.