Are PC games no longer the driving force behind graphics cards? That's the indication Nvidia made Wednesday at the Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference, saying that the upcoming DirectX 11 application programming interface (API) will not be what drives future sales. Instead, Nvidia said the graphics market will pocket wads of cash from general purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU). Tools for GPGPU and software taking advantage of the technology will also propel sales, not DirectX 11-driven PC games.
"DirectX 11 by itself is not going be the defining reason to buy a new GPU," said Mike Hard, vice president of investor relations at Nvidia. "It will be one of the reasons. This is why Microsoft is in work with the industry to allow more freedom and more creativity in how you build content, which is always good, and the new features in DirectX 11 are going to allow people to do that. But that no longer is the only reason, we believe, consumers would want to invest in a GPU."
X-Bit Labs points out that Nvidia may have problems, as ATI is about to crank out its Radeon HD 5800-series graphics cards that fully support DirectX 11, and Nvidia is remaining speechless in regards to its DirectX 11-flavored plans. Nvidia's CUDA GPGPU technology is also incompatible with OpenCL and DirectCompute 11 environments, both supported by the Radeon HD 4000 and 5000 series. This could mean to computer enthusiasts that Nvidia is no longer the "technology leader."
But Nvidia doesn't seem phased, and stands firm on its belief that special-purpose software relying on GPGPU will be what drives people to the store, begging for more power, not id Software's Rage or some other PC game with insane requirements. That's too bad, as The Jerk had a special purpose but didn't need a GPGPU.