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Nvidia Says PS4 Involvement Wasn't Worth the Cost

By - Source: GameSpot | B 102 comments

Priorities priorities, and consoles don't fit the schedule.

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.


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Top Comments
  • 35 Hide
    hagjohn , March 15, 2013 4:38 PM
    Considering a lot more games will be AMD (GPU/CPU) optimized, I think Nvidia has it wrong.
  • 29 Hide
    gilgamex , March 15, 2013 4:08 PM
    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
  • 28 Hide
    redeemer , March 15, 2013 7:11 PM
    wh3resmycartegra is CPU.. although not x86. people here are d***.




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Other Comments
    Display all 102 comments.
  • 29 Hide
    gilgamex , March 15, 2013 4:08 PM
    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
  • 10 Hide
    dark_wizzie , March 15, 2013 4:10 PM
    AMD needs all it can get. Nvidia will hopefully use this to get better GPUs.
  • 24 Hide
    ilysaml , March 15, 2013 4:17 PM
    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?
  • 35 Hide
    hagjohn , March 15, 2013 4:38 PM
    Considering a lot more games will be AMD (GPU/CPU) optimized, I think Nvidia has it wrong.
  • 9 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , March 15, 2013 4:40 PM
    I see Nvidia Shield as a response to console makers shunning nvidia from the market, not what nvidia claims being too busy. Besides, how can Nvidia Shield do better than what PS Vita can't. And Nvidia is not know for competitive pricing.
  • 2 Hide
    Memnarchon , March 15, 2013 4:42 PM
    Since they are planning to move to console market also with the Project Shield, they might thinking that giving tech and developing for a competitor wouldn't end well.
    Like Apple and Samsung which they are suing each other every hour that passes...
  • 18 Hide
    ddpruitt , March 15, 2013 4:43 PM
    I think both NVidia and Intel have both just realized how important it is to develop a system with balanced CPU and Graphics potential. Nvida is graphics, Intel is CPU, so AMD's setup works in wider range of scenario's including consoles. Now (hopefully) they're better off supplying all the muscle for next-gen consoles.
  • 4 Hide
    vaughn2k , March 15, 2013 4:44 PM
    "... and we came to the conclusion that we did'nt want to do the business at the price those guys were willing to pay..."

    It means that - "We did not won the project because PS4 wants to have a chip that is cheaper cost..."


    "We're building a whole bunch of stuff, and we had to look at console business as an opportunity cost," - Tony Tamasi

    "... and Project Shield is not a console, by the way...its a local cloud gaming..."
  • -4 Hide
    dudewitbow , March 15, 2013 4:47 PM
    ilysamlNo, 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?

    AMD aimed for desktop and laptop space, nvidia's current project is on mobile(Nvidia Shield and Tegra4). those two projects are probably what is keeping nvidia payign close attention to other topics at the moment. their opportunity cost trying to get a sony bid is not worth dropping the other projects on
  • 13 Hide
    Shankovich , March 15, 2013 5:03 PM
    Umm, don't really agree with nVidia. Now many games are going to run optimally on AMD hardware, especially GPGPU related things like physics calculations, which will hurt PhysX as a selling point.
  • 18 Hide
    goodguy713 , March 15, 2013 5:08 PM
    Im not interested in cloud gaming .. its bad enough that you need an always on connection but when you throw in the latenancy for the games and the fact that it would be a niche market due to the lack of internet connectivity speeds for various locations... its not like its going to do much better then most of the other current cloud gaming services .. ehh.. AMD really seems to have put its self in a good position as long as they can provide on there end ..
  • -5 Hide
    LORD_ORION , March 15, 2013 5:21 PM
    Remember, ATI was only able to break into the industry because they acquired a GPU company that was building the GPU for the GameCube.

    There was alot of concern among ATI investors that it would sink the company, because history has shown there is no profit in it. (console manufacturers like to sell consoles for a loss, and as such will F you in the butt as soon as it is convenient.)
  • 2 Hide
    balister , March 15, 2013 5:21 PM
    vaughn2k"... and we came to the conclusion that we did'nt want to do the business at the price those guys were willing to pay..."It means that - "We did not won the project because PS4 wants to have a chip that is cheaper cost"


    Not quite, what it's really saying is: "we wouldn't make the profit that we think we should make to have the console market be worth our while to get involved with."
  • 4 Hide
    ashesofempires04 , March 15, 2013 5:26 PM
    Like others have said, there is a lot to be said for HSA style hardware. Going with nVidia over AMD would have meant working with a second company on a CPU, and all three companies having to pass engineering prototypes back and forth to work out all the kinks in the designs. It adds extra overhead to a process that already has a lot riding on it. The only other game in town for an x86 architecture on par with AMD is Intel, and none of the console makers can afford Intel's prices. AMD has the APU expertise to make an excellent, yet low-cost complete architecture.

    nVidia is also working on four projects. GRID, Shield, Tegra 4, and Geforce 8. I would say they have their hands full with that.
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , March 15, 2013 5:47 PM
    Im just hoping all the lame half done console ports are better then the recent ones
  • 15 Hide
    redeemer , March 15, 2013 6:01 PM
    Sorry but Nvidia was not invited back, and that is the real reason! Nvidia cannot provide an X86+GPU based SOC like AMD can. This sounds like typical Nvidia butthurt!
  • 11 Hide
    redeemer , March 15, 2013 6:06 PM
    myromance123This doesn't mean the games will be better for AMD hardware. A good example, Saints Row 3 which was in one way or another meant to have been focused more towards AMD hardware.Yet from my personal experience, using a HD7850 with Catalyst 12.8 and 13.1, it suffers low framerates when set to ultra. (Drops to 30fps and lingers there at 1920x1080 with constant explosions). Jumping to an Nvidia 680 with 304 drivers, it works smoothly and lingers at 60fps at 1080p. I know the difference in hardware performance is there, but I would have thought the AMD cards would have greatly benefited from the devs working with AMD. This wasn't the case, and in forums there are even AMD specific problems with the game.



    Absolutely games will be more optimized for AMD hardware no doubt, the reason behind that is devs will want to harness all that power AMD hardware can create and translate that into games obviously. Now that its X86 the porting from console to PC is more straight forward than ever. TWIMTB titles 99% of the time performance better on Nvidia based hardware for example. You cannot lok at games like Saints Row and make a comparison since that is a PC game
  • 23 Hide
    cyan1d3 , March 15, 2013 6:10 PM
    Certainly sounds like excuses being made for not being chosen to provide hardware... the long and the short of it is that AMD can provide a better combination of hardware in a small package than NV can provide with a T/P processor.

    " "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. "

    "I'm sure there was a negotiation..." -- doesn't sound very confident... If you are a Senior VP at Nvidia, you would have known if there was a negotiation... none of this "I'm sure.." business. Leads me to believe they were not a major consideration.
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