In a shock joint announcement made this morning in California, Sony Computer Entertainment revealed that it has enlisted erstwhile Xbox GPU partner NVIDIA to help the PlayStation 3 pump the polygons required for the next generation of hardware.
According to the release, “…both companies are jointly developing a custom graphics processing unit incorporating NVIDIA's next-generation GeForce and SCEI's system solutions for next-generation computer entertainment systems featuring the Cell* processor,” filling in the ever-present GPU void in Sony’s published information regarding its as-yet unnamed new home console.
However, how this places the PlayStation 3 in terms of lifecycle remains unclear. It is now assured that the new Xbox will be on sale well before the competition, making good Microsoft’s claim, first made by J Allard in an exclusive SPOnG interview during X02.
“In the future, the experience of computer entertainment systems and broadband-ready PCs will be fused together to generate and transfer multi-streams of rich content simultaneously. In this sense, we have found the best way to integrate the state-of-the-art technologies from NVIDIA and SCEI," said Ken Kutaragi, executive deputy president and COO, Sony Corporation, and president and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "Our collaboration includes not only the chip development but also a variety of graphics development tools and middleware, essential for efficient content creation,” comments that no doubt seek to bolster recent claims echoing from IBM that the PlayStation 3 will be developer-friendly.
"We are thrilled to partner with Sony Computer Entertainment to build what will certainly be one of the most important computer entertainment and digital media platforms of the twenty-first century," added Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO, NVIDIA. "Over the past two years NVIDIA has worked closely with Sony Computer Entertainment on their next-generation computer entertainment system. In parallel, we have been designing our next-generation GeForce GPU. The combination of the revolutionary Cell processor and NVIDIA's graphics technologies will enable the creation of breathtaking imagery that will surprise and captivate consumers."
As to whether NVIDIA finds working with Sony easier that it did partnering Microsoft will be seen when the GPU goes into production next year at the Toshiba/Sony co-owned Nagasaki Fab2 manufacturing facility.