Nvidia Says PS4 Involvement Wasn't Worth the Cost

Nvidia Senior VP of content and technology Tony Tamasi recently spoke with GameSpot about the upcoming console from Sony. The PlayStation 4 will sport a custom APU developed by AMD and Sony, leaving Nvidia out of the hardware picture. Nvidia also wasn't part of Nintendo's Wii U development, which has an AMD Radeon GPU, and the upcoming Xbox Infinity from Microsoft, which will likely have AMD graphics as well.

So what gives? Why isn't Nvidia participating in the next-generation race? In regards to the PlayStation 4, a deal likely wasn't made due to the "opportunity cost." In other words, the company didn't see enough potential revenue to pull resources from one project to fund work on console-based chips.

"I'm sure there was a negotiation that went on, and we came to the conclusion that we didn't want to do the business at the price those guys were willing to pay," Tamasi said. "Having been through the original Xbox and PS3, we understand the economics of [console development] and the tradeoffs."

As stated, the original Xbox featured a 233 MHz "NV2A" application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), co-developed by Microsoft and Nvidia. This relationship led to a dispute in 2002 over the pricing of the graphics ASIC and allegations that Nvidia violated their agreement. Nvidia later went on to co-develop the PlayStation 3's RSX "Reality Synthesizer" GPU (550 MHz) with Sony, which cranks out resolutions up to 1080p.

Now, in 2012, with the Wii U leading the next-generation pack, Nvidia isn't involved at all other than PhysX and APEX support in the PlayStation 4 SDK (so far). Tamasi indicated that Nvidia is just too busy with other projects to invest in console development, including Nvidia GRID for Internet-based cloud gaming and Nvidia Shield for local cloud gaming.

"We're building a whole bunch of stuff, and we had to look at console business as an opportunity cost," he said. "If we, say, did a console, what other piece of our business would we put on hold to chase after that?"

He goes on. "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," he said. "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."

We'll be hitting up Nvidia for fresh new info next week during the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose and hopefully get some hands-on with some of Nvidia's new stuff.


Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
102 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • Considering a lot more games will be AMD (GPU/CPU) optimized, I think Nvidia has it wrong.
    35
  • While on one hand these claims have some merit, seeing as how there are definetly bulk deals and incentives that need to be in place so consoles can be price competitive. On the other Nvidia doesn't have a CPU at all, and if you can negotiate a deal with a CPU/GPU developer in one die at the same time It keeps everything in check.

    One chip yield won't outweigh the other, you pay everything to one business, you implement both on a simplified mobo with less of a heat footprint and perhaps slimming down the console itself. The list goes on with benefits that come with going with AMD. And also the fact that AMD is willing to haggle more more than Nvidia & Intel
    29
  • wh3resmycartegra is CPU.. although not x86. people here are d***.



    . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . ,.-'". . . . . . . . . .``~.,
    . . . . . . . .. . . . . .,.-". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."-.,
    . . . . .. . . . . . ..,/. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ":,
    . . . . . . . .. .,?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\,
    . . . . . . . . . /. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,}
    . . . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`^`.}
    . . . . . . . ./. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:". . . ./
    . . . . . . .?. . . __. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :`. . . ./
    . . . . . . . /__.(. . ."~-,_. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,:`. . . .. ./
    . . . . . . /(_. . "~,_. . . .."~,_. . . . . . . . . .,:`. . . . _/
    . . . .. .{.._$;_. . ."=,_. . . ."-,_. . . ,.-~-,}, .~"; /. .. .}
    . . .. . .((. . .*~_. . . ."=-._. . .";,,./`. . /" . . . ./. .. ../
    . . . .. . .\`~,. . .."~.,. . . . . . . . . ..`. . .}. . . . . . ../
    . . . . . .(. ..`=-,,. . . .`. . . . . . . . . . . ..(. . . ;_,,-"
    . . . . . ../.`~,. . ..`-.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..\. . /\
    . . . . . . \`~.*-,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..|,./.....\,__
    ,,_. . . . . }.>-._\. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .|. . . . . . ..`=~-,
    . .. `=~-,_\_. . . `\,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\
    . . . . . . . . . .`=~-,,.\,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .\
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . `:,, . . . . . . . . . . . . . `\. . . . . . ..__
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .`=-,. . . . . . . . . .,%`>--==``
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _
    28
  • Other Comments
  • While on one hand these claims have some merit, seeing as how there are definetly bulk deals and incentives that need to be in place so consoles can be price competitive. On the other Nvidia doesn't have a CPU at all, and if you can negotiate a deal with a CPU/GPU developer in one die at the same time It keeps everything in check.

    One chip yield won't outweigh the other, you pay everything to one business, you implement both on a simplified mobo with less of a heat footprint and perhaps slimming down the console itself. The list goes on with benefits that come with going with AMD. And also the fact that AMD is willing to haggle more more than Nvidia & Intel
    29
  • AMD needs all it can get. Nvidia will hopefully use this to get better GPUs.
    10
  • No, actually AMD did the best job inventing the APU with such a massive graphics power and getting it developed along generations. What nVidia came with?
    24