During the Nvidia’s “Power of 10” event, Jen-Hsun Huang, Co-founder and CEO of Nvidia Corporation talked about the positive shift in mentality for game developers. Game development in the past segmented resources between consoles and PCs, often resulting in sub-par experiences on the more powerful hardware. PC-focused eSports today have an audience of over 300 million viewers, easily rivaling or even beating more established ‘real’ sports. In 2013, the situation for PC gaming was rather grim.
The arrival of new, AMD powered consoles brought the x86 architecture back to Microsoft (Intel x86, IBM PowerPC, AMD x86), and marked the third architectural change for Sony (SGI MIPS, IBM PowerPC, AMD x86). More importantly, that shift created a single installed user base and a single total addressable market (TAM).
On the slide above, you can see that Nvidia believes 2016 will have a single installed base of over 150 million gaming systems that game developers should to target for their future titles. Even more importantly, PC platform is seeing its growth outstripping the consoles which are bound to get even more fragmented after Sony launches the “PlayStation Neo”. Coming in the fall Sony PlayStation Neo, or PlayStation 4.5 is a brand new console, backwards compatible with PlayStation 4, featuring a 14nm x86 processor and Polaris graphics architecture.
While Nvidia is currently the largest benefactor of AMD’s effort, the situation on the market is bound to get more complicated, as the “Power of 10” still doesn’t support Asynchronous Compute, while Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Neo and all Radeon gaming cards from 2013 “Hawaii” GPU architecture onward. Still, if you are a game developer and not thinking about VR or eSports, you’re missing the boat in a big way. The development platform is all but unified and you can practically run the same code and architectures (Vulkan, OpenGL) on all three major gaming platforms. Capturing just 1% of that market is over 1.5 million copies sold.
Thus, whenever you see an article mentioning ‘the death of’ anything, just disregard it as a misinformed chatter.