Friday, July 19, 2013

Who is the Next Big Winner in the Console Gaming Wars?

Computer ChipWhat do the Wii U, Playstation 4, and Xbox One have in common?  Answer:  All three run AMD processors inside.  AMD managed to find it's way into each of the three gaming consoles: Either as the Graphics processor or, Graphics AND Central processor.  That seems like a huge deal to me.
AMD has been a big player in the microchip market for a long time, but it's never been the biggest.  Currently nvidia is still the biggest player in graphics.  Providing all the graphics cards for the consoles might change that.  ExtremeTech explains how:

The real worry with AMD’s push for unified gaming is that games developers might shirk Nvidia optimizations. If it’s relatively simple to get Xbox One games up and running on PCs with AMD graphics, publishers might not see the need to spend the additional cash to optimize for Nvidia cards. This could be a huge hassle for the majority of PC gamers with existing Nvidia cards, but it would be even worse for Nvidia itself. While AMD has been lagging well behind lately, this PC-console strategy could help it leapfrog its competitors in a meaningful way.
Despite being the company that created the first x86 64 bit processor, and the first dual core x86 processor

It would be exciting if console and PC hardware started moving closer to each other.  Porting of top titles costs a lot of time.  If it's moving from one type of chip and hardware set to another will mean even more time to make sure it looks and plays the same.  But if the console hardware is similar to PC hardware, then it won't take as long.  That means more and quicker game ports.

AMD could really use the boost because right now, despite the legacy of creating the first 64bit x86 processor, and the first dual core x86 processor, AMD is getting it's butt handed to them by Intel in the x86 server market.  It's also losing ground on mobile devices.  Qualcomm and Samsung overtook AMD's second place in the mobile phone market.
Overall, I think this was one hell of a strategic coup for AMD.  One that keeps them a big player in the chip market.


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