Senior development sources in the UK have today revealed to us that Microsoft’s next generation Xbox will use an ATi graphics chipset, following Microsoft’s apparent inability to work cohesively with former provider nVidia.
Not known as the most forgiving company in the world, it seems that Microsoft has simply tired of the bitter arbitration it found itself involved in, following the breakdown of any productive working relationship with nVidia. As you may know, the Xbox’s inordinately high production costs saw Microsoft put the squeeze on nVidia over its pricing for the Xbox’s graphical heart. nVidia resisted, and no clear solution could be found, leaving both firms no option but to take to the arbitration table.
Although the two came out from negotiations full of smiles and handshakes, today’s news clearly demonstrates that the rift became too big to breach, leaving Microsoft to turn to the only other company able to supply graphics power to Xbox 2’s projected output.
Microsoft’s camp is understandably quiet on the issue, with Xbox head honcho and universal nice guy Ed Fries today telling us “I can never comment on rumours.”
Predictably, nVidia was also quiet, simply saying that it only comments on such matters by way of official release.
It’s worth looking at ATi’s deal with Microsoft in perspective for a moment. At present, Nintendo works with the firm as it supplies the polygon magic known as Flipper that powers GameCube. Indeed, both Nintendo and ATi have stated that they see themselves working on projects together in the future. Although this may seem a little strange, you need to understand the relationship enjoyed between Microsoft and Nintendo.
Both firms have their eyes on Sony’s massive market share and as such, an unofficial affiliation has formed between the two. At E3 this year, representatives from Nintendo and Microsoft were seen talking jovially together and there is back-slapping all round when any Xbox or GameCube title takes software sales away from the PlayStation.
But it’s more than that. Microsoft and Nintendo in the US are practically next-door neighbours in Redmond, Washington. They are socially active together and there is no bitterness between the two. As both firms have different goals, Nintendo to continue to release gaming consoles and Microsoft to steal Sony’s dream of a media delivery hub for the living room, there is no direct conflict of interest as the market, with a smaller Sony, is big enough to support this.
We’ll bring you everything on all next-generation consoles as it breaks, and remember where you read this first.