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Nintendo licenses texture compression tech

Console manufacturer signs new agreement with long-time partner S3 Graphics

Nintendo has extended its licensing agreement with graphics chipset company S3 Graphics, for the firm's new S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) technology.

Although better known for producing OEM graphics cards for the PCs, Nintendo first partnered with S3 Graphics over 10 years ago, during the Nintendo 64 era.

Thanks to the cartridge-based Nintendo 64 and the smaller propriety disc of the GameCube texture compression has long been a vital consideration for Nintendo - and continues to be so with the Nintendo DS in particular.

S3TC is a group of texture compression algorithms that can achieve up to six-fold compression of complex textures and images. This reduces memory bandwidth and increases the number of textures that can be stored and processed through onboard graphics memory.

Whether the new licensing agreement has anything to do with new Nintendo hardware, such as the already announced 3DS portable, is unclear.

"This agreement furthers our dedication to providing our game developers with leading compression technology to enable them to deliver the best possible gaming experience," said Genyo Takeda, general manager of Nintendo's Integrated Research and Development division. "We look forward to continuing our licensing arrangement with S3 Graphics."

"We are extremely pleased that Nintendo has chosen to use the S3TC compression technology in its world renowned gaming platforms," said Dr Ken Weng, general manager of S3 Graphics. "The license agreement reaffirms S3 Graphics' S3TC texture compression technology as the industry standard for both PC and game console graphics."

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David Jenkins