NVIDIA Reportedly Walked From Sony PS4 Design Negotiations

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 15 2013 10:26 AM
NVIDIA recently announced plans to support Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 (PS4) console with its PhysX and APEX software development kits (SDKs), but the core hardware inside all belongs to AMD. It didn't have to be that way -- NVIDIA could have powered the PS4 with a custom built GPU of its own, and had negotiations with Sony gone differently, that may have been the case.

Tony Tamasi, Senior VP of content and technology at NVIDIA, told GameSpot that the price Sony was willing to pay simply wasn't high enough. Whether that means Sony tried lowballing NVIDIA or whether NVIDIA itself was just too expensive for Sony's blood isn't known, just that the two sides couldn't come to terms on a deal.

"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. "We're building a whole bunch of stuff and we had to look at the console business as an opportunity cost. If we say, did a console, what other piece of our business would we put on hold to chase after that?"

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Tamasi pointed out there's only so many engineers to go around, and once you devote resources to a project like the PS4, another part of the business inevitably has to be put on hold.

"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," Tamasi added.

The PS4 is essentially a PC wrapped in a console skin. It sports an 8-core AMD Jaguar APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) and a GPU that's roughly equivalent to a Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition graphics card. One of the major things that has developers excited, however, is the 8GB of unified GDDR5 memory, which some believe gives the console an edge over PCs.
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Dave_HH replied on Fri, Mar 15 2013 11:33 AM

Gotta know when to walk from a bad deal. Design wins for the sake of wins will choke profitable deals in the long run.

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This is indeed a major victory for amd, I am very happy for them. Intel and nvidia have always been about the money and even though amd is low on cash the expected sales of the ps4 should bounce them back. Long live amd

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Every business is about money, Warrren. Don't stare down your nose at it. Unless they're pigging from the taxpayer trough or begging some government to launch an anti-trust suit against a competitor there's no way to make big money except by creating lots of stuff people want, and both nVidia and Intel do exactly that. Anyone's free to buy an AMD CPU, but more customers think an Intel is the better deal. Aside from the economic environment, and investment decisions, another big factor determining profit or loss is customer choice.

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Sony would have lost out if they had used Nvidia as the APU beats a CPU/GPU two piece with what they are trying to achieve with shared resources.

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CDeeter replied on Sat, Mar 16 2013 10:53 AM

^ This. By going with AMD it will simplify the design, as AMD can bring x86 and graphics on one chip. That's something Nvidia just can't offer at any price. And with profit margins being what they are on consoles, that's huge.

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Dorkstar replied on Mon, Mar 18 2013 3:46 PM

Considering AMD is a nearly sinking ship, I think they are willing to give just about any potential profit a chance at this point.  Plus, Nvidia is tossing in their physx alogn with the PS4, so i'm sure they aren't walking away empty handed on this one.

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