A couple of weeks ago, news broke that AGEIA was set to be acquired, but it wasn't clear as to who the parties involved were; the initial story claimed only that it wasn't AMD.  As of a few moments ago, however, that rumor has become fact.  NVIDIA just sent word that they will be acquiring AGEIA Technologies for an as yet undisclosed sum.  We don't have all of the details just yet, but more information about the acquisition will be disclosed during NVIDIA's quarterly conference call, scheduled to be held on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 2:00 PM, Pacific Time.

NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang does say in the press release that the acquisition will allow NVIDIA to offer "GeForce-accelerated PhysX", but it is not clear whether he means current GeForce cards or a next-gen GPU product.  It's also not clear as to what this means for current AGEIA PhysX hardware, and whether or not existing PhysX enabled titles will be accelerated on the GPU.  For now here's a snip from the official press release that just hit...


PhysX on GeForce Will Bring Amazing Physics Dynamics to Millions of Gamers

SANTA CLARA, CA — FEBRUARY 4, 2008 — NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA), the world leader in visual computing technologies and the inventor of the GPU, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire AGEIA Technologies, Inc., the industry leader in gaming physics technology. AGEIA's PhysX software is widely adopted with more than 140 PhysX-based games shipping or in development on Sony Playstation3, Microsoft XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii and Gaming PCs. AGEIA physics software is pervasive with over 10,000 registered and active users of the PhysX SDK.

“The AGEIA team is world class, and is passionate about the same thing we are—creating the most amazing and captivating game experiences,” stated 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.”

“NVIDIA is the perfect fit for us. They have the world’s best parallel computing technology and are the thought leaders in GPUs and gaming. We are united by a common culture based on a passion for innovating and driving the consumer experience,” said Manju Hegde, co-founder and CEO of AGEIA.

Like graphics, physics processing is made up of millions of parallel computations. The NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT GPU, with its 128 processors, can process parallel applications up to two orders of magnitude faster than a dual or quad-core CPU.

“The computer industry is moving towards a heterogeneous computing model, combining a flexible CPU and a massively parallel processor like the GPU to perform computationally intensive applications like real-time computer graphics,” continued Mr. Huang.  “NVIDIA’s CUDA™ technology, which is rapidly becoming the most pervasive parallel programming environment in history, broadens the parallel processing world to hundreds of applications desperate for a giant step in computational performance.  Applications such as physics, computer vision, and video/image processing are enabled through CUDA and heterogeneous computing.”

Manju Hegde - CEO Ageia

Now the question becomes how will this move by NVIDIA affect the end products they bring to market and ultimately how will it affect the consumer?  It's probably safe to say that an integration of PhysX technology with GPU architecture is firmly on NVIDIA's roadmap, though we likely won't see the fruits of those efforts inside of the traditional 9 - 12 month development cycles seen in high-end semiconductors. 

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