New consoles making AMD big money 
  TweetTweet

Geoffrey Tim
January 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm

amd

AMD’s chips power all of the new consoles. Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One and even Nintendo’s Wii U use processors supplied by AMD. Rival chipmaker Nvidia’s said on numerous occasions that it’s glad it’s not supplying the chips for the consoles. It’s always seemed like sour grapes. they could get sourer, as AMD’s revealed that the new consoles have given their bottom line a boost.

In March last year, Tony Tamasi of Nvidia said. ".. we came to the conclusion that we didn’t want to do the business at the price those guys were willing to pay".

"Having been through the original Xbox and PS3, we understand the economics of [console development] and the tradeoffs,"

The tradeoff seems to be cash. The arm of AMD responsible for the console chips, AMD’s Graphical and Visual Solutions division, saw revenue a year-on-year increase of $539 million for the last quarter of 2013 – up to $865 million from the previous year’s $326 million.

"Strong execution of our strategic transformation plan drove significant revenue growth and improved profitability in the fourth quarter," said AMD president and CEO Rory Read in a statement.

"The continued ramp of our semi-custom SoCs and leadership graphics products resulted in a 38 percent revenue increase from the year ago quarter. Our focus in 2014 is to deliver revenue growth and profitability for the full year by leveraging our differentiated IP to drive success in our targeted new markets and core businesses."

It’s not all roses, champagne and yachts for AMD though, as AMD’s Computer Solutions division – the one responsible for its PC chips -  saw a nasty $7 million operating loss in Q4 on revenue of $722 million. In the last year, that division saw a $22 million loss in the last year.

While AMD keeps console gamers playing, Nvidia’s hedging its bets on mobile chips and its prominence in Steam Machines.

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Brian Murphy

    The thing I’m really interested in seeing is how the Mantle API will compete w/ the DX API, especially as more AMD GCN products hit the market. If there’s a dramatic boost in performance because of the low level access, it could very well threaten DX’s stranglehold on the market (thank god).

    As far as Nvidia is concerned, I simply think they’re more focused on ultra high-end spec cards at the moment. The new 780 Ti OC’s benchmarks are absolutely ridiculous (topping the R9 290X, and GTX Titan for $300 less than the Titan).

    • Admiral Chief in Vegas

      Yeah, I’m really excited for dat Mantle!

      Death to DX

      • Brian Murphy

        Well, not exactly, I don’t think having one API that the majority of the industry uses is a good thing. I think DX having an actual competitor is the best solution for all. If Mantle turns out to be amazing for PC/PS4/One, then it would naturally force Microsoft to finally do something about the resource bleed in DX, which I think we’d all love to see happen.

        • HvR

          Well OpenGL is supposed to be the competitor but M$ always forces it into the DX box since Windows is still the preferred gaming platform of choice.

          I can not see Mantle holding on to its lean mean low level access model, it will probably degrade away with subsequent releases.

          • Brian Murphy

            Very true, but as you said, Microsoft forces DX since it’s Windows. With Mantle it’s different though, because their machine is GCN and would strongly benefit from the new API (if reports are true). Plus, and I think this is the lynch-pin. If developers use it for the PS4, and not the One and there’s a monstrous performance disparity….that could force Microsoft’s hand.

            Clever AMD, very clever.

          • Admiral Chief in Vegas

            Indeed

          • FoxOneZA

            One of the tech review sites pulled on a rumor that the Mantle API is basically the same as the DX API in the Xbox One.

          • Brian Murphy

            Well, until we see it in the flesh, rumor doesn’t really float for me. Wouldn’t make sense for AMD to put this much of a push behind a new API, for it to simply be the same as DX, and as I said, Xbox One has a GCN APU, so Mantle would potentially be a better suited API. If the low level access is indeed true.

          • ZombieDogma

            I would switch over to a Linux gaming box in a second if that were an option. Waaay too little support for OpenGL though

        • Admiral Chief in Vegas

          Death to DX superiority!