NVIDIA Strikes Back?
Thereís a lot you may have heard about NVIDIA Editorís Day. No doubt there are plenty of reports floating about the conference and what happened. Youíve certainly read reports of game developers showing up to support NVIDIA, and others simply taking the time to market their games. There has no doubt been coverage, honest and disingenuous, favorable and otherwise, of the statements made by NVIDIAís engineers and reps, as well as their esteemed CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang.
Now, when it comes to finding out what it all means, there has been little discussion. Well, letís disregard the comments from leading members of the peanut gallery who werenít even at the event and are simply maintaining their image of a fair and balanced neutrality by kissing the other sideís ass this month. Picking and choosing quotes from a third party and shaping them to suit your own purposes hardly qualifies as professionalism.
The NVIDIA Team
David Kirk, Chief Scientist
However, I should make it clear Ė while I have as much interest or more in hardware than your typical hardcore gamer, Iím no Brandon
. So rather than focusing on the technical aspects of what NVIDIA was saying and elaborating on that, Iíve approached the game developers themselves for comments and elaborations. Some have chosen to remain anonymous or stay off the record, but their answers to various questions have shaped the opinions that lie herein.
But first, a prelude
Firstly, and this has nothing to do with the conference, itís time to clear the air of a little popular myth. NVIDIA isnít 3dfx. NVIDIAís development as a company doesnít mirror that of 3dfx. To dispel notions of NVIDIAís impending doom, the ď3dfx curseĒ and other such nonsense, all one needs to do is look at the financial results for NVIDIA and ATI. Both experienced gains in the last quarter, and while NVIDIA is down relative to its peak, they still maintain a lead that they arenít keen on relinquishing.
There are some interesting insights to be gleaned from the NVIDIA notables and their attitudes. To further contrast NVIDIA and 3dfx: while 3dfx representatives had an air of hopeful neediness around E3 2000 when they launched the Voodoo5, and were downright desperate a year later when demonstrating the 6000, NVIDIA employees are quite confident and calm.
However, thereís no denying that NVIDIA took the Editorís Day event very seriously. To suggest that this is a careless response to ATIís Shader Day and that they disregard their competitors would be a false conclusion. Derek Perez himself expressed surprise that NVIDIAís CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, stuck around all day to watch and participate in the proceedings. Mr. Huang, despite his considerable skills in the matter, isnít a marketing or PR man. As a CEO, he has important duties and his continued presence at the Editorís Day gives us a hint of the eventís gravity.
The candid nature of the event and the admission that they have been on the defensive for a long time is further proof, and weíll get to that shortly. Indeed, some may take a more critical view of this and state the opinion that the impressive array of NVIDIA notables was there to because of the seriousness of the matter.