Pokemon GO hasn’t even finished its worldwide rollout, but it’s all anyone is talking about or reading about this week; it’s truly inescapable. I haven’t seen this level of mainstream attention for a gaming product since Nintendo’s original Wii, and that’s truly a good thing for Nintendo. The company could use a positive story after dealing with so much negativity from the Wii U’s failure.
As Rob Fahey pointed out today, it’s also hugely encouraging for the future of Nintendo on mobile. Whatever you think of Miitomo, what Pokemon GO has easily proved in only the span of a week, is that with the right approach Nintendo’s IP can do amazing things on a smartphone. I can’t wait to see how Nintendo brings its most cherished IP, like Mario and Zelda to the mobile space. And should the upcoming NX somehow fail, shareholders can rest easy knowing that the company can triumph on devices it didn’t manufacture.
After racing to the top of the charts in the US and Australia, and just recently in the UK as well according to App Annie, Pokemon GO has already helped add $9 billion to Nintendo’s market cap. The monetization potential for sponsored locations and real-world businesses is staggering to think about as well. App Annie says it could “easily envision” Pokemon GO generating $1 billion annually.
The big question surrounding Pokemon GO now, of course, is will it stand the test of time or burn out in just a couple months? The mobile market has been evolving and games can reach maturity much faster. Nicolas Beraudo, MD EMEA at App Annie, commented, “…the average time to maturity for new releases dropped over 60% from 2014 to 2015, a reduction from 50 weeks to 17. What this means is that there is a trend that publishers have to release more games than before to stay profitable.” Once Niantic and Nintendo finish the global rollout, however, ensure that server issues are fixed and possibly introduce more features, Pokemon GO may be able to stay successful for some time.
Another major lesson to be learned from this incredible Pokemon week is how easy it is for people to get into augmented reality. You don’t need an expensive PC or headset or to block out the world and ignore your wife and children to play AR games. People in the know have been telling me all-year long that AR is the technology with the truly mainstream potential. Former Epic Games executive Mike Capps tweeted, “Great, now I have to change my slides saying ‘AR overtakes VR usage by 2021′ and replace that with ’2016′ and hope nobody remembers.” Indeed, Pokemon GO has shown us all that the entire world can easily hop on the AR bandwagon, and with Magic Leap now saying it’s in “go mode” and CastAR still on track for a family-friendly AR system release in 2017, it won’t be long before everyone’s talking about how fun AR gaming is. VR, meanwhile, will no doubt get better and better and offer some incredibly compelling experiences of its own, but I have my doubts on whether its potential can ever match AR’s.
Elsewhere in news, a story that received a lot of play this week was how Warner Bros. settled with the FTC for paying online streamers to say positive things about its games. YouTube celebrity PewDiePie was mentioned – in hindsight probably unfairly – in almost everyone’s headlines. PewDiePie explained in a video response that not only were the videos in question labeled as sponsored by Warner Bros, but they were published at a time when YouTubers weren’t even legally required to disclose such arrangements. PewDiePie, to his credit, was disclosing the nature of those relationships before he even had to, and the media (GamesIndustry.biz included) completely failed to mention that not-so-small detail. Love him or hate him, I think it’s fair to say that PewDiePie’s been vindicated.
And in a story that we’ve been following since last week when the CS:GO Lotto site owners were called out for the unscrupulous people that they are, Valve finally came around and said to itself, “Oh hey, maybe it’s actually not so great that we’ve been sued and are being associated with online gambling.” Why it took the Steam platform holder so long to come out against the gambling sites and to deny any involvement is a mystery to me. It’s good that the company sent out requests to the gambling sites to cease operations through Steam, but as one GI.biz commenter already noted, Valve could be taking an even tougher stance and could very well be launching a lawsuit of their own. This story is far from over, and in the meantime, you should be aware that Twitch has taken notice and changed its terms of service to ban gambling-related broadcasts.
Nvidia is not going to come out of new competition from AMD and Intel that well, according to analysts Well Fargo.
The analysts have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and come to the conclusion that Nvidia’s growth days are numbered and it could face some serious problems from AMD in graphics and Intel in co-processors.
The report said that renewed competition from AMD in graphics and Intel in coprocessors could create headwinds to growth and possibly limit Nvidia’s ability to beat expectations in the near term.
While the analysts expected Nvidia to continue to grow its coprocessor business in the future rising competition from Intel will also stuff up its momentum.
“The Knights Landing family might help Intel regain some share in the HPC coprocessor market, though Nvidia has also introduced a new coprocessor family this year, its Tesla P100.”
At the moment Nvidia shares are probably worth a “significantly” less than its valuation range of $30-36.
We expect that the analysts who wrote this will be having to get their stagecoach moving fast if they want to evade the tribe of Nvidia fanboys who will want to put arrows in their hats.
A little birdie told us that Nvidia is giving its Volta the 16nm FinFET treatment. This product uses stacked DRAM too so it looks like the whole thing will be pretty bleeding edge.
Our same deep throat told us that the performance per watt is expected to increase tremendously. Although this might be vague, little is known about Volta other than it is arriving after Pascal so any information we get is news. The earliest we expect Volta is 2017.
It is interesting to see that the lag between the GPU manufacturing and mobile processor manicuring is getting bigger. We expect to see Apple and Qualcomm making their first 10nm chips this year and it is unlikely that the GPU guys can match them.
The next generation Nvidia Volta GPU will stick with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET at . AMD will use 14nm Global Foundries for its Vega HBM 2.0 powered card. This is also scheduled for 2017. AMD’s CPUs will go directly from 14nm to 7nm so there is a chance that GPUs will skip 10nm and go directly to 7nm. This will probably take a lot longer to happen.
GPUs are complex parts and it takes time to get them to work using new manufacturing processes.
Mobile SoCs will head to 7nm in late 2017 or early 2018 but it will be interesting to see what will be the next manufacturing nod for the GPUs.
A report from financial analysts Seeking Alpha has issued guidance on the share price of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and said the company’s outlook is quite bright.
The report said that only 11 months back AMD was one of the most shorted stocks in the USA largely as a result of falling revenues and losses.
But, said Bill Maurer at Seeking Alpha, all that has completely changed now. Analysts think that AMD’s share price is currently overvalued.
It all hangs on how well AMD performs when it releases its earnings next week.
The introduction of the RX 480 was supposed to help out on revenues but there’s a question mark over how well it’s contributed to the bottom line.
On the bright side, the arrangement it had with Nantong Microelectronics terminated in the quarter and that ended up meaning a net cash bonus of over $320 million.
The share price currently stands at over $5. AMD’s biggest phone the processors based on Zen architecture are promised to start shipping later this year. This should have an effect on the stock value.
While beancounters have been predicting that VR will arise to become an important part of the IT industry, some of us have wondered if that was likely if the technology was too expensive and lacked a “killer app.”
But it is starting to look like the killer app will not be gaming, or office management, or anything else that the beancounters have been looking at. The real killer app, like VHS before it, will be smut.
Last week a group of VR retailers got together to produce a virtual erotica exhibition in Japan showing the porn applications available for VR. They had a few machines on hand and they expected a moderate amount of interest.
What happened was that shed loads of lonely Japanese blokes patiently queued up outside waiting to see if the tech was ready to meet their expectations. When we say loads we mean far too many. The exhibition had to pre-maturely close due to the pressing crowds.
While this made for a funny story, it actually shows who VR’s target market will be, initially. It will not be geeks or gamers it will be those who want a sexual experience either because they can’t get one, or can’t be bothered. It is these guys who are going to provide the base numbers that will make the machines profitable, rather than those who want to chainsaw zombies in 3D. For practical reasons these guys have deep pockets too.
It was the same people who provided the bedrock for internet bandwidth since the 1990s. Smut is still a mainstay of the Internet, although it is nowhere near as much as it was at the beginning. That is pretty much how this will play out over the next decade.
The porn users will be the early adopters and they will create the offer growth opportunities for component suppliers, including sensors, infrared (IR)/laser transmitters and LED chips. They will swiftly drive the cost of headsets down so that they become more accessible to other users and uses.
They will also force the development of better technology. Say what you like about porn, if it looks fake, or the experience is not particularly real then people are swiftly going to be dissatisfied.
This is going mean lighter VR head-mounted display (HMD) devices, more MEMS parts and IR/LED sensing components to detect the positions and movements of a “target.”
What we find interesting is that going through all the stories about VR and its cousin AR is that there is a marked reluctance for anyone to admit that this is what is about to happen. There are a few off-hand references to the “entertainment industry” or using the devices to “watch movies” but we can’t find anywhere that pundits are actually saying that “porn will be the killer app” – other than Fudzilla.
Practically this means that a lot of investment and marketing is heading in the wrong direction. While people are talking games, or even office applications, they are missing out on the apps and hardware which will propel VR and AR through its initial adoption hurdle.
The rumor mill is flat out claiming that TSMC is getting the blame for a shortage of GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 supply issues. However, sources have been on the blower to say that is untrue, the lack of availability are generated by exceptionally great sales.
The 1080′s cards were launched in 27 May and the GTX 1070 on 10 June, however stocks are scarcer than an intelligent post-Brexit plan in the UK. Even the over-priced Founders’ Edition cards are as rare as an apology from an Italian politician.
The rumor is that that TSMC is having trouble producing the 16nm FinFET chips that power the Pascal GPUs in the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. However what we are seeing is that interest is overwhelming supply – the Geforce has been selling better than any high end card in the recent history.
The reason is simple – the card’s performance is exceptional and if you are in the market for $500+ card you definitely want the 1080 or the 1070. AMD so far has nothing new to offer as a Fury X replacement.
According to many leaks Radeon RX480 will launch tomorrow, June 29th, but as you should probably know by now, this card cannot compete with GTX 1080 or 1070. The performance of Radeon RX480 should be around between GTX 960 and GTX 970, which is quite good for the mainstream card.
Again, people who spend $500+ on GPUs want more than that – they want to play Doom and Battlefield 1, or similar high end at 1440 or 4K resolution and Ultra settings. This is what is causing the shortage of cards.
A few months back Nick wrote about AMD Zen processor found in a Linux Kernel Mailing List confirming that Zeppelin had support for eight bundles of four cores on a single chip, or 32 physical processing cores.
This tied in with a story written in August of 2015 about a MCM Multi Chip module that featured a Zeppelin core, a super-fast 100GB/s interconnection via 4 GMI links and Greenland (Vega) high performance GPU with 4+ TFlops of performance. This APU will still happen, it will just be a bit later – the end of 2017.
Now we have a few more details about Zeppelin cluster and this is proving to be another “Fudzilla told you so” moment. Apparently you can put up to four Zeppelin CPU clusters on a one chip and make a 32 core chip. This will be connected via coherent interconnect (coherent data fabric).
Each Zeppelin module has eight Zen cores and each Zen core has 512 KB of L2 cache. Four Zen cores share 8MB or L3 cache making the total amount of L3 cache per Zeppelin cluster 16 MB.
Each Zeppelin cluster will have PCIe Gen 3, SATA 3, and a 10GbE network connection. A server version of the chip has the server controller hub, DDR4 memory controller and AMD secure processors.
AMD will have at least three pin compatible versions of the next generation Opteron using Zeppelin cluster of Zen cores. There will be a 8 core versions with single Zeppelin cluster, dual Zeppelin cluster version and a quad Zeppelin version, that one that we have called Naples which will have 64MB L3 cache. All this sounds rather a lot.
We are expecting to see Zen-based Opterons in eight, sixteen and thirty two core versions for servers in 2017.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed 1000-core processor which will eventually be put onto the commercial market.
The team, from t developed the energy-efficient 621 million transistor “KiloCore” chip so that it could manage 1.78 trillion instructions per second and since the project has IBM’s backing it could end up in the shops soon.
Team leader Bevan Baas, professor of electrical and computer engineering said that it could be the world’s first 1,000-processor chip and it is the highest clock-rate processor ever designed in a university.
While other multiple-processor chips have been created, none exceed about 300 processors. Most of those were created for research purposes and few are sold commercially. IBM, using its 32 nm CMOS technology, fabricated the KiloCore chip and could make a production run if required.
Because each processor is independently clocked, it can shut itself down to further save energy when not needed, said graduate student Brent Bohnenstiehl, who developed the principal architecture. Cores operate at an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 GHz, and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data.
The 1,000 processors can execute 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating only 0.7 Watts which mean it can be powered by a single AA battery. The KiloCore chip executes instructions more than 100 times more efficiently than a modern laptop processor.
The processor is already adapted for wireless coding/decoding, video processing, encryption, and others involving large amounts of parallel data such as scientific data applications and datacentre work.
AMD has released a short video where its lead system engineer Louis Castro running Doom on its Summit Ridge, Zen-based processor.
This means that the silicon is in good shape and the processor was taped our probably late last year with no major issues. AMD’s CEO Lisa Su has already said that the desktop version shall arrive first, and this was the CPU demonstrated in the video.
Summit Ridge is not an APU and doesn’t have a GPU core. AMD engineers were using a discreet GPU probably from one they found out the back.
The Summit Ridge is an FM4 socket processor and half dozen of them are shown in the video.
At its E3 2016 press conference today, EA said that DICE and Motive were working on a new version of Star Wars: Battlefront for release in 2017. Visceral Games are creating an action-adventure game with an “original narrative set in the Star Wars universe with all-new characters.”
Respawn Entertainment is developing “a different style of gameplay” which takes place in a different timeline we have yet to explore with our EA Star Wars titles.” In other words, almost every EA studio is flat out making something Star Warish.
And while the company didn’t make any mention of it at the news conference, the preview video it showed fans offered a very brief glimpse of a player wearing a PlayStation VR headset, while an X-Wing’s cockpit was shown on screen. That’s likely to stoke anticipation about a reboot of the classic 1997 title “X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter.”
EA and Lucasfilm signed a multiyear licensing deal in 2013. Due, in large part, to the strength of “Star Wars Battlefront,” EA handily beat its earnings estimate in its most recent quarter. Star Trek Bridge, the simulation of the Bridge inside of an Enterprise, a big VR commitment from EA looks like a fun game too.
AMD’s Zen chip will have as much as 32 cores, 64 threads and more L3 cache than you can poke a stick at.
Codenamed Naples, the chip uses the Zen architecture. Each Zen core has its own dedicated 512kb cache. A cluster [shurely that should be cloister.ed] of Zen cores shares a 8MB L3 cache which makes the total amount of L3 shared cache 64MB. This is a big chip and of course there will be a 16 core variant.
This will be a 14nm FinFET product manufactured in GlobalFoundries and supporting the X86 instruction set. Naples has eight independent memory channels and up to 128 lanes of gen 3 PCIe. This makes it suitable for fast NVMO memory controllers and drives. Naples also support up to 32 SATA or NVME drives.
If you like the fast network interface, Naples supports 16x10GbE and the controller is integrated, probably in the chipset. Naples is using SP3 LGA server socket.
The first Zen based server / enterprise products will range between a modest 35W TDP to a maximum of 180W TDP for the fastest ones.
There will be dual, quad, sixteen and thirty-two core server versions of Zen, arriving at different times. Most of them will launch in 2017 with a possibility of very late 2016 introduction.
It is another one of those Fudzilla told you so moments. We have already revealed a few Zen based products last year. The Zen chip with Greenland / Vega HBM2 powered GPU with HSA support will come too, but much later.
Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO told Fudzilla that the desktop version will come first, followed by server, notebook and finally embedded. If that 40 percent IPC happens to be across more than just a single task, AMD has a chance of giving Intel a run for its money.
MediaTek’s R&D teams are working with European-based car vendors to develop the company’s automotive electronics and virtual reality (VR) offerings.
Digitimes claims that having developed SoCs for smartphones, mobile devices, and connected home appliances, MediaTek is stepping up development of chips solutions for auto electronics and VR applications.
MediaTek is focused on in-car entertainment systems, and will be using its partnership with China-based NavInfo, a digital mapping service provider to help out.
NavInfo will sell subsidiary AutoChips (Hefei) and will also form a strategic alliance in which MediaTek will make an investment of US$100 million.
MediaTek will be developing VR for handsets and will support Google’s Daydream VR platform.
Meanwhile the team is flat out improving its IC solutions for Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable device applications. It is pretty sure that this will become the third largest segment after mobile devices and connected home appliances such as digital TVs. In fact the only two areas that MediaTek does not appear interested in is server and augmented reality (AR) applications.
A recent Chinese-language Economic Daily News report claims that Mediatek wants the spun off business to drive VR sales. It all sounds pretty good but MediaTek have sort of denied the rerport.
Well we say sort of denied it. What it has told the Taiwan Stock Exchange that it was not the report’s source, which is not quite the same thing.The spin off could go ahead, but MediaTek is denying that it told the EDN its cunning plans. But then again the EDN did not name its source either. Without a denial from the company we are none the wiser.
MediaTek’s VR unit was set up between end-2015 and early-2016 to focus on the development of the company’s VR solutions for handsets, the EDN thought.
While some publishers establish their own eSports divisions and appoint chief competition officers, Take-Two is approaching the competitive gaming trend with a bit more caution. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz in advance of the company’s financial earnings report today, CEO and chairman Strauss Zelnick said the field was promising, but still unproven.
“eSports we find very interesting,” Zelnick said. “It is, however, still more a promotional tool than anything else. And most people see eSports as an opportunity to increase consumer engagement in their titles, and depending on the title, to increase consumer spending within the title.”
To date, Take-Two’s biggest eSports endeavor has been an NBA 2K tournament with 92,000 teams competing for a $250,000 prize. The final 16 teams are set to compete in a single-elimination tournament this weekend, with the finals taking place during the NBA Finals next month.
“It’s just the beginning for us,” Zelnick said of the tournament. “It’s very gratifying so far, but we have yet to see it as a stand-alone profitable business. We see it more as an adjunct to consumer engagement in our titles.”
Zelnick also addressed the company’s digital revenues, which for the first time made up more than half of its revenues for the year. While the industry has shifted heavily toward digital in recent years, Zelnick doesn’t see this as some sort of tipping point or a harbinger that physical goods are in for declines from here on out.
“This year was a little different because we had a very significant portion of this year’s revenue through digital distribution,” Zelnick said. “And that’s a reflection of the power of titles like Grand Theft Auto Online as well as PC titles, 90 percent of which are digitally delivered. With frontline console releases, your numbers are more like 20 percent from digital distribution. So physical distribution remains the lion’s share of our revenue.”
While Zelnick acknowledged the growth of digital distribution is a good thing for Take-Two, he specified that it wasn’t a strategy for the company because it’s ultimately out of his hands.
“We want to be where the consumer is, and we’re not really the ones who vote,” Zelnick said.
Nvidia has been talking about its Tesla M10 GPU designed to run on the latest version of the company’s GRID technology.
For those who came in late, GRID technology is supposed to give servers a kick in the graphics back-end. It powers virtual desktops and support cloud-powered gaming.
Nvidia says the Tesla M10 GPU can support up to 64 desktops per board and 128 per server with two boards. This means shedloads of virtual machines which are potentially dead and alive.
The new graphics card ccan support Citrix’s XenApp and virtual PCs running Windows, or power virtual workstations that need the performance for professional graphics work.
The M10 is a bit like the M6 and M60 as a GPU accelerator – unlike the M10 motorway which is a disappointingly short road connected the M1 to the A414 just south of St Albans.
Companies making use of virtual machines or looking to substitute hardware for more efficient virtual systems can access the GRID and Tesla tech for less than $2 per month per user for use with virtual apps and remote desktop sessions, and the firm will provide virtual PCs for less than $6 per month per user.