And a deal with Microsoft to supply the core chipset for Xbox 2 looks increasingly likely. Although there’s very little detail in the announcement of the Nintendo deal, the obvious assumption is that this means that ATI will be supplying the graphics chip for the successor to GameCube. The company already manufactures the Flipper chip used in the Cube, and last week ATI engineering VP Dave Rolston told a technology conference that the company was actively pursuing deals to work on future consoles.
The other possibility, namely that this deal is actually to develop technology for the successor to the Game Boy Advance – which will almost certainly have a built-in mobile 3D processor – seems more unlikely, but cannot be disregarded all the same.
Meanwhile, ATI’s bid to develop chips for the next generation of Xbox hardware looks even more likely to succeed today, with rival NVIDIA continuing to distance itself from the project. NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang suggested to a recent investor briefing that the company would not be involved with the Xbox successor due to the engineering difficulties involved – although of course, the fairly public spats between NVIDIA and Microsoft over things like pricing and documentation won’t have helped matters.
Huang also commented on the forthcoming PlayStation 3, stating his belief that Sony was going to have massive manufacturing difficulties with the hugely powerful Cell processors which will form the heart of the machine.