Nvidia on why it's not involved in PS4

Chip-maker exec says Sony wasn't offering enough money to justify the opportunity cost

Nvidia's work won't be used in the PlayStation 4 hardware, but the graphics chip maker doesn't seem overly concerned about losing Sony as a business partner. Speaking with GameSpot, Nvidia senior VP of content and technology Tony Tamasi said the opportunity cost of signing up for the PS4 would have been too great for the money on the table.

"I'm sure there was a negotiation that went on," Tamasi said, "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 that Nvidia's experience providing chips for the original Xbox and the PlayStation 3 have taught the company plenty about the economics of console development.

"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," Tamasi 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."

Nvidia isn't abandoning console work entirely. The company is preparing its own Project Shield to launch later this year. The system combines a controller, console, and monitor into a single form factor, and will play Android games or stream PC titles from a user's computer.

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Latest comments (7)

Private Industry 6 years ago
From the specs Sony released it would look they are better off with AMD as they can provide CPU and GPU on one chip that should be faster than having the CPU and GPU seperated.

Nvidia cards have also the tendency to be more expensive to equivalent ATI cards.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd6 years ago
@ Werner nVidia makes mobile processor and GPU combos, which is basically what the PS4 has (a suped up mobile processor attached to a powerful GPU).

Also they are significantly more efficient and reliable than AMD GPUs, so while the "straight power" cost may be higher for nVidia real world performance is much better. AMD is a floundering company, faced with far more successful competition from nVidia and from intel on the processor side. They have the same problem there, except even more extreme. AMD processors are a huge disappointment performance wise compared to even old intel processors. I was pretty disappointed to see AMD was the PS3 chip manufacturer, but hopefully they've really stepped up for this system. In general, though, they are far from synonymous with quality or cutting edge technology.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 14th March 2013 10:29pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
@ Nicholas

To be honest, the reverse of what you say is true nowadays for AMD GPUs. The 7000-series are far and away better than their Nvidia equivalents - the 600-series - with even the base AMD 7950 outperforming or equalling the Nvidia 680 with the new Never Settle drivers. Considering that the 680 retails for 80-100 more than the 7950, that's quite the difference. Add-in that the 7000-Series overclocks shockingly well, even at base voltages, and AMD are actually better for GPUs.

Sadly, their CPU division isn't great. Bulldozer went for the multi-threaded angle, which whilst might have been great for Workstations, in gaming it isn't quite as useful.
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Private Industry 6 years ago
The CPU`s Nvidia makes are for mobile devices that wouldn`t be sufficient for a console. They are great for smartphones and the Vita, but would not deliver enough performance for a home console running games in 1080p and 3D with everything else the console has to do from running the OS to physics, AI and so on.

I`m using AMD CPUs and ATI cards since the last 10 years in my PC`s and I never had any issues with either of them and some of the perception of Nvidia and Intel being a lot better has been there since the last 10 years and not fully true. Desktop CPU`s AMD does not match Intel CPUs, but AMD is more or less on par with Intel when it comes to processors for Laptops and their APU`s are very good. And thats what Sony needed a good and strong APU.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 6 years ago

The 7970 is hardly far better. Competitive, at best. The performance difference is is very small, yet the 680 is cooler, uses less power (about 30W less) and as a side effect of this, quieter. It really the depends on the game you play - in some games the Nvidia is faster, in some, AMD is the way to go. Comparision between the 7970Ghz edition and the 680.
Not counting the quality of drivers and developer tools where NVIDIA is clearly ahead of AMD/ATi, especially on Linux.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
@ Tom

Perhaps "Far and away better" was an exaggeration, but for cost/GPU power measurements (and the 80 difference in cost wasn't an exaggeration), the 7950/7970 is the better deal. The problem with most comparisons between the 7000-Series and the 600-Series is they are all from the period when the 7000-Series was just released. The new 12.11 Never Settle drivers also explode the myth that AMD can't write drivers, and Nvidia can. Though, 2 things to note: 1) I can't vouch for Linux drivers, and 2) Nvidia stopped making good drivers when they accidentally cocked-up the fan profile in them, meaning that sometimes the Auto-Fan setting failed to kick in, and it cooked a few GPUs. You are quite right that it depends upon the game, though, so all this should have been prefaced with a "Generally". :)

A couple of links on the 12.11 drivers:
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Adam Campbell Game Manager, Azoomee6 years ago
I can't see any partner as being better than AMD.

They can provide top quality GPU architecture and an X86 CPU on one die at a low price. Something nVIDIA can't achieve technically with no real stake in that area of CPUs and Intel can't match for performance/price - their GPUs being simply not up to high end gaming.

If anyone wondered why Microsoft and Sony are after AMD this gen, it because they simply offer the best package for a next generation embedded system.

Edit: Can I also add, drivers and cooling have little bearing in comparison here. Consoles don't have other same driver issues so comparing on PC doesn't make sense. This is also an APU of unprecedented manufacturing process so it will be unlike anything else integrated for performance vs power consumption & heat.

Its simply a matter of offering a strong architecture that supports the latest shader capabilities whilst remaining efficient. Arguing NV vs AMD leads to nowhere.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 15th March 2013 9:49pm

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