Why didn’t AMD do this?
Graphics giant NVIDIA has snapped up the only remaining independent gaming physics technology company left after Intel bought Havok last September. The move leaves AMD/ATI as the only major graphics player not to have an influence on physics processing.
“The AGEIA team is world class, and is passionate about the same thing we are; creating the most amazing and captivating game experiences,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. “By combining the teams that created the world's most pervasive GPU and physics engine brands, we can now bring GeForce accelerated PhysX to hundreds of millions of gamers around the world.”
Not long after Intel’s acquisition of Havok, VP pat Gelsinger spoke to HEXUS.tv to explain Intel’s plans for graphics. Ominously for both Nvidia and AMD he said Intel was going to change the game in graphics by taking IA (Intel architecture) everywhere – including graphics, physics and AI. He stressed that this is the focus of its Larrabee programme, which will result in Intel’s own discrete graphics as well as improvements in its integrated offerings too.
The upshot of all this is that both of AMDs rivals can now offer physics engines as part of their overall offering and there are no physics companies left to buy. AMD could develop physics technology of its own, but seems to have its hands full just keeping its CPUs and GPUs competitive.
As physics becomes a bigger part of computer games, graphics hardware benchmarks will increasingly be influenced by how well they process physics. Surely, as long as it has no influence on either physics engine, future AMD/ATI graphics products will compare poorly to Intel and Nvidia ones in performance tests.
With Intel’s future discrete graphics products likely to dominate the entry level market as it already does the integrated one and Nvidia owning the high-end market – especially in desktops – you have to wonder what is left for AMD/ATI.