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AMD console guru defects to nVidia

Ten years ago, Bob Feldstein was busy taking the lead on a deal with Microsoft that would lead to the Xbox 360 console being launched with ATi technology inside. Now he’s made the move across to nVidia. KitGuru dances in front of a Kinect controller and ponders the nature of the next-next-gen console market.

Small, privately run companies often do incredible things. Even when that company goes public, as long as the key personnel remain at the top (we’re thinking Steve Jobs), then some incredible things can happen.

Once you evolve the company, for example by bringing in new top management several times, you also change what the company is about – what goals it has and how it intends to achieve them. We’re probably making it sound bad, but this is the way things have gone for organisations like Mercedes, Boeing and Mitsubishi (that once crafted bombers to destroy American aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbour, but now supply recreational vehicles to keep those same Americans safe on country roads).

The point is that things, generally, change – and that’s how the future evolves.

The efforts by Bob and his team with Microsoft were so successful, that there is every chance that ALL of the next-gen consoles will now be powered by AMD.

This means that all eyes turn to the prize of the next-gen consoles. Realistically, we’re talking about products that won’t be on our shelves until something like 2018, so why does anyone care?

nVidia has The Way It’s Meant To Be Played programme (TWIMTBP – or Twintub). This ensures that many games are specifically ‘helped’ to be better on nVidia hardware. The power of this programme is obvious and nVidia still takes more than 50% of the world’s graphic card sales – despite the success of AMD’s 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 series.

The programme costs money and, for that investment, delivers benefits.

But what happens when ALL of the new games are being developed on AMD hardware?  There will obviously be a tendency, on all games, to work with an ‘AMD capabilities’ mindset. And AMD will not have paid a penny for all that early access.

Will this move see a fundamental tipping of benchmarks in AMD’s favour?

nVidia is taking no chances and the recruitment of people like Bob will be part of a plan to try and get the next-next-gen consoles thinking with a GeForce frame of mind.

KitGuru says: Market analysts had been looking closely at this move and there seems to be a consensus that nVidia is doing the right thing. The question is whether acquiring these key personnel will be enough to counter the negative feelings that nVidia have created with companies like Microsoft over the years. When the 360 was being readied, nVidia refused to hand over vital info about certain errors and fixes in the NV-powered Original Xbox (claiming they were IP and not to be shared) – which left a bad taste in Microsoft’s mouth. Can Bob bring minty-freshness?

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